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Isnain, 20 Safar 1441 (Sunday, October 20th, 2019)
May 23rd, 2008 07:21
Mahmud, Sultan of Riau and Lingga (1823—1864)

Virginia Matheson[2]

The Text

The life of Sultan Mahmud is described in the Tuhfat al-Nafis (The Precious Gift), a Malay text which, according to its author, Raja Hajji Ali, is intended to relate the stories of the Malay and Bugis kings and their descendants. The work opens with a synopsis of the Sejarah Melayu and continues in more detail with the history of the kingdom of Johor. The dynamic figures in the Tuhfat are the Bugis princes, whose military skill and hard-line diplomacy won them high positions of state in Riau, Selangor, and the Borneo states of Sambas and Matan-Sukadana. A recurring theme in the first half of the Tuhfat, which covers the first half of the eighteenth century, is the conflict between the Minangkabau of Siak and the allied Bugis and Malay forces. These clashes occurred both in the Riau area and in Kedah, Selangor, Siak, and Borneo. The second half, which covers the mid-eighteenth century to 1864, portrays the developing hostility between Bugis and Malays on Riau and two major, Bugis-led confrontations with the Dutch at Malacca in 1756 and 1784. This last venture ended when the Dutch made a treaty with Riau in which the Sultan held his kingdom only as a fief of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). After 1818, a Dutch Resident was permanently stationed at Tanjungpinang.[3]

The religious and cultural life of Riau, especially the island of Penyengat (the seat of the Bugis rulers) and of Lingga (the seat of the Malay rulers) did not seem to be at all influenced by the Dutch. The main area of traditional life which the Tuhfat does portray as having been subject to Dutch intervention was piracy. Both diplomatic and financial pressures were exerted by the Dutch to force the rulers to cooperate in its suppression.

The scope of the Tuhfat, chronologically, geographically, and politically, is very broad. Its detailed narration of Johor history from the early eighteenth century until 1864 is interwoven with anecdotes from the history of Siak, Kedah, Selangor, Trengganu, Kelantan, and the west coast of Borneo. Where encounters with Europeans --mainly Dutch and British-- are described, the accounts tally most strikingly with contemporary European versions of the same events.

The Manuscripts

There are four currently known manuscripts of the Tuhfat al-Nafis. One of these has only recently been identified as a Tuhfat text,[4] and has not been incorporated into the translation which follows. Of the other three manuscripts, one presents a shorter Tuhfat text, and two present a longer version. The shorter manuscript is from the Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde in Leiden.[5] The older of the two longer manuscripts which is catalogued as the "Maxwell 2" manuscript,[6] is from the Royal Asiatic Society in London, and was copied in 1890. The last manuscript is a published Jawi text, which was copied for R. O. Winstedt some time after 1923. It was published in the Journal of the Malayan Branch Royal Asiatic Society.[7] The translation from the Tuhfat in this article is based on the "Maxwell 2" text. This manuscript was preferred because it presents a better text than Winstedt‘s. Because the longer version of the Tuhfat represents an expansion of the basic Leiden manuscript, the shorter work is preserved within the longer one.

The Author

It is important for an understanding of the Tuhfat to know a little of the author‘s background and milieu. Raja Hajji Ali was descended from the first Bugis princes who established themselves in Riau. The princes had made the office of Yang Dipertuan Muda and hereditary Bugis position whereas the offices of Sultan, Bendahara, and Temenggong were left to the Malays. The Yang Dipertuan Muda, holders of military power, soon held all commercial and effective political strength as well. Thus, in an effort to maintain their position in the face of the Bugis challenge, the Sultan and the Malays turned to the Dutch, the leading European power in the area. The Dutch found it in their interests to support the Malays against the Bugis, whose domination of the Peninsula tin trade posed a real threat to Malacca. In the 1784 Dutch treaty with Riau, it was stipulated that there should be no Bugis Yang Dipertuan Muda. In the early nineteenth century, however, a physical withdrawal of the Sultan from Riau to Lingga forced the Dutch to carry out negotiations with the Bugis, who were reinstated as Yang Dipertuan Muda at Riau, the center of Dutch activity in the area. During the nineteenth century the traditional pattern of relationships changed. The Yang Dipertuan Muda chose, overtly at least, to cooperate with the Residents, while the Sultans, separated and isolated from the center of administration, became less involved in matters of policy and thus did not work closely with the Dutch.

The author of the Tuhfat was related to all the Yang Dipertuan Muda who are mentioned in the translation. He was a Muslim scholar and was on good terms with the Dutch officials of his time. Some of his other works[8] indicate that he stood strongly for Malay custom in matters of dress, religion, and behavior. It would have been difficult for him to respect a young Sultan like Mahmud, who refused to follow the advice of his elders, involved himself in Christian ritual (Freemasonry), and followed the customs of Europeans rather than the dictates of Islam.

Sultan Mahmud

We know very little about Mahmud before he became Sultan in 1841.[9] It was only then that he began to exert his influence and to become a figure of note in the Riau-Lingga and Singapore world. Of his early life, we know from the Tuhfat that he was born in Trengganu. Mahmud‘s grandfather, Sultan Abd al-Rahman,[10] offended at not being officially installed as Sultan of Lingga, left Lingga in 1821 and sailed to Trengganu with his son, Tengku Besar Muhammad. The Sultan of Trengganu, Ahmad, settled the father and son in their own kampong. Ahmad then married Sultan Abd al-Rahman to his sister and Muhammad to his daughter. Abd al-Rahman‘s bride died a year later, but in 1823 his son‘s wife, Tengku Teh, gave birth to Mahmud. Shortly after his grandson‘s birth, Sultan Abd al-Rahman was brought back from Trengganu to Lingga by a Dutch ship. The regalia was restored to him in a formal installation ceremony in November 1823. Sultan Abd al-Rahman was said to have been interested only in his religious devotions,[11] leaving the administration of his realm to the Yang Dipertuan Muda, and to his son Muhammad.

Sultan Abd al-Rahman died in August 1832 at the age of 55 or 56.[12] He was succeeded by Mahmud‘s father, Sultan Muhammad who became involved in Trengganu affairs. When his father-in-law died in 1826, there was a disputed succession in Trengganu and the loser, Umar, retired to Lingga, where he stayed with Sultan Muhammad. When a youth succeeded to the Trengganu throne in 1836, Umar returned, ousted him, and became Sultan. Over twenty years later, Sultan Umar was to return the favors he had received at Lingga by sheltering Sultan Muhammad‘s son, Mahmud, at his court in Trengganu.


In about 1834 Sultan Muhammad had Mahmud circumcised and crowned Sultan. For the rest of his life he acted as a regent to the child. In 1837 Sultan Muhammad went to Singapore and brought back with him Raja Maimunah, the granddaughter of Sultan Husain of Singapore. She was married to her cousin, Mahmud, and received the title Tengku Empuan (Royal Consort). They had one child, Fatimah who in 1851 married Yang Dipertuan Muda Ali‘s son, Muhammad Yusuf.[13] Sultan Muhammad died on July 20, 1841, at the age of 38, and Mahmud took over the kingdom without a regent.


Before becoming Sultan, Mahmud‘s experience with the Dutch had been very limited. He appears to have regarded them as clerks, who handled the more trying aspects of the administration without interfering with the internal workings of the Lingga court. In his experience the Dutch were required to show the Sultan all signs of deference. Unlike the Yang Dipertuan Muda, he had had little opportunity to gauge the extent of the Dutch Residents‘ power, which was backed by the Governor-General in Batavia.

When Mahmud became Sultan and tried to act as an independent ruler, he met opposition. Traditionally, opposition had come from the Yang Dipertuan Muda, the counterbalance to the Sultan‘s power. In Mahmud‘s case, however, this check was not effective. As the translated passage shows, the Yang Dipertuan Muda (or his representative) could not persuade the Sultan to stay in Lingga when he insisted on going to Singapore. But Mahmud met stiffer opposition from the Dutch. In 1856 this took the form of a warning from the Dutch Governor-General. The Sultan was not intimidated, and, possibly expecting support from his British friends in Singapore, he ignored the Dutch censure. Having made a threat, the Dutch were forced to execute it and had to resort to deposition. This was a failure for Dutch diplomacy, and foretold the ultimate breakdown of the Malay Sultanate, which within a generation passed to the Bugis.

Summary of the Remainder of Mahmud‘s Life (Subsequent to the Translated Extract)

On October 10, 1857 the Dutch installed Mahmud‘s uncle, Sulaiman, as Sultan of Lingga. Shortly afterwards, Mahmud returned to Lingga, but, on learning he had already been replaced, he went back to Singapore, where he stayed with the Temenggong. After six months in Singapore, he moved on to Pahang. In May 1858 he wrote to the Dutch Governor-General seeking pardon but was told this was possible only if he would settle permanently in Java. In Pahang, Mahmud was the guest of the Bendahara, Mutahir; however, he soon left the capital and journeyed to the interior of the state to meet Maharaja Perba of Jelai, the greatest chief in Pahang. During this time, both the British and Bendahara Mutahir heard rumors of a plot to proclaim Mahmud Sultan of Pahang. When Mahmud returned to the Pahang capital, the Bendahara received him coldly, and in October 1858 he left with Maharaja Perba to visit his uncle in Trengganu.

For some reason Mahmud returned to Pahang in 1859,[14] where Mutahir placed at his disposal the revenues of a district. The situation changed, however, when Mutahir abdicated in favor of his son, Koris, who refused to acknowledge Mahmud‘s status and assumed for himself the position of independent sovereign of Pahang. There had long been a dispute in Pahang over the Bendahara ship in which the claimant to the title was Mutahir‘s half-brother, Ahmad. Ahmad‘s previous attempts to gain control of Pahang had been unsuccessful, but when Koris rejected Mahmud, the latter threw his support to Ahmad. Because Ahmad‘s forays into Pahang had been made from Trengganu, Mahmud returned there in 1860 to seek backing for Ahmad. The British had previously warned Sultan Umar not to further Ahmad‘s schemes in Pahang, so when his nephew returned, wanting support for Ahmad‘s intended rebellion, Umar would not respond. This was a blow to Mahmud, who now saw only one alternative source of aid--the Siamese.

The Dynastic Chronicles Bangkok Era: the Fourth Reign[15] records many of Mahmud‘s official dealings with Siam. His first request for assistance was in a letter dated December 18, 1860. The King of Siam (Mongkut) replied that Pahang was a British Protectorate, and, since Siam and Britain were on friendly terms, it would not be in Siam‘s interests to interfere. The ex-Sultan would, however, be very welcome to visit Bangkok. In June 1861, Mahmud did go to Bangkok[16] in a Siamese ship. Shortly after his departure, Siamese ships reappeared off Trengganu,[17] and rumors reached Singapore that the Siamese had come to depose Sultan Umar and install Mahmud in his stead. The British were afraid that this was the beginning of an extension of Siamese influence over the entire Malay east coast, so the Hooghly was hastily sent to Trengganu, and the Siamese ships left. This incident led the British to strengthen their ties with Pahang and Johor. In 1861 they drew up a treaty bringing the foreign relations of those two states under British control; thus, as a result of moves made by Mahmud, the British were forced to become more involved swith Pahang and Johor.

In June 1862 Mahmud returned to Trengganu as Siamese governor of that state and Kelantan.[18] He was now in a strong position to support Ahmad‘s revolt in Pahang, which began in August 1862. The British reacted strongly to what they regarded as Mahmud‘s interference, and in November 1862 two gunboats were sent to Trengganu. An ultimatum was delivered, ordering Mahmud to leave. When it had expired, the fort and palace of Trengganu were bombarded for four hours.

A few months afterwards, the Siamese sent a boat to collect Mahmud, and he arrived back in Bangkok in April 1863. He stayed until November, when the Chronicles say[19] he received letters from Pahang urging him to leave Siam. Disguised as a sailor, he fled to Singapore and from there secretly entered Pahang. Ahmad‘s revolt against Koris ended triumphantly in June 1863. Mahmud reached Pahang, sick and exhausted in December of that year, but Ahmad refused to acknowledge him as Sultan. Nevertheless, he stayed there, stateless and powerless, until his death six months later in July 1864 at the age of 41.

The Dutch decision to depose Mahmud in 1857 thus proved to have been short-sighted. Deprived of the Sultanate, he was forced to find a niche for his royal authority elsewhere. Mahmud did not cease to exist as a Sultan merely because the Dutch had withdrawn their recognition of his position. In Malay tradition nothing could rob him of a social status which was his by birth and he remained a powerful figure. Despite extreme Dutch, and later British, opposition, this Sultan of an isolated and dismembered kingdom managed to extend his influence and activities throughout the east coast of Malaya and ultimately to Bangkok.

The Text in Translation[20]

Before the seventh day of mourning, Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Abd al-Rahman[21] arrived from Riau, and went to attend the king, Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar Shah. When they met, they both wept. Then the king spoke: "Please see that the state is administered properly." So the Yang Dipertuan Muda did what was necessary and continued the administration of [the king‘s] late father.

Some time later the Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Abd al-Rahman asked leave of the king to return to Riau, to which the king agreed. When he reached Riau he sent Raja Ali, the Engku Kelana,3[22] one of his brothers, to Lingga to be his representative there, and one of his cousins, Engku Hajji Ali,[23] went with Raja Ali to assist him in his work. Raja Ali sailed for Lingga, and, when he arrived, he went to attend the king, Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar Shah. Sultan Mahmud handed over all Lingga‘s internal affairs to Raja Ali. So it was settled, to put it briefly.

Let us now talk of Daheng Rongge‘, called by some Daheng Kechi‘[24] … who lived at Telok Belanga.[25] Governor Bonham[26] had consulted the Dato‘ Bendahara of Pahang, Tun Ali, about appointing Daheng Kechi‘ as Temenggong. Following the discussion, Daheng Kechi‘ was appointed Temenggong Seri Maharaja. After that he left for Lingga to attend Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar Shah[27] and to meet Raja Ali, the husband of his sister, Raja Che‘. When he arrived in Lingga, he was received with honor by Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar Shah and Raja Ali, and he stayed in Lingga, being entertained and feasted by them, as is the custom among kings when receiving their relatives. Then the Temenggong Seri Maharaja asked leave of Sultan Mahmud and Raja Ali to return to Singapore, and they agreed. When he reached Singapore, he stayed at Telok Belanga.


As for Sultan Mahmud, after the Temenggong Seri Maharaja had returned, he wanted to leave for Singapore too. But this did not seem right to the Yang Dipertuan Muda‘s representative, Raja Ali, who submitted to Sultan Mahmud that to go often across the border to Singapore was not becoming to a king; it was far preferable to improve one‘s own state and build it up. Sultan Mahmud would not listen to Raja Ali‘s submission, but left for Singapore with his young attendants.[28] Raja Ali sent a message to his brother, the Yang Dipertuan Muda, informing the Temenggong Seri Maharaja and asking him to keep an eye on Sultan Mahmud while he was in Singapore and on what he was doing. The reader will know how it is with young people, and those with him were all young and inexperienced.

When the Yang Dipertuan Muda had heard his brother‘s message, he was worried, and the Resident of Riau[29] was also a little disturbed, because Sultan Mahmud could not be restrained from his ill-considered actions. The Tengku Temenggong of Singapore was continually giving him good advice, persuading him to return to Lingga and to stay in his own country. However, in this case too, the king paid no attention but continued to enjoy himself in Singapore. He traveled about, visiting suitable as well as unsuitable places --places to which no king would properly go.

As a result, a messenger came from Mr. Bonham, the Governor of Singapore, ordering Sultan Mahmud to return immediately to Lingga. Only then did Sultan Mahmud leave. When he arrived in Lingga, he lived as was his custom, spending his day with his young attendants in idle amusements. Later, Sultan Mahmud wanted to return to Singapore for a pleasure trip. Raja Ali did not approve, because he had received many reports about the king; if he went to Singapore [again], there could be a scandal which would damage his name. The reader will understand; Sultan Mahmud was a young man, and those who accompanied him were young servants and attendants, ill-versed in the traditional customs, who could diminish the prestige of the state. Nevertheless, Sultan Mahmud insisted on going, and Raja Ali could restrain him no further, so he sent his relative, Raja Ali Hajji, to inform the Yang Dipertuan Muda. When Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Abd al-Rahman and the Resident of Riau heard what Raja Ali Hajji had to say, they discussed it together. Then the Yang Dipertuan Muda left for Lingga.

When he arrived he attended the king, Sultan Mahmud, and his mother, Tengku Teh.[30] He told her about her son always wanting to go to Singapore without good cause; it was not proper for great kings to act thus. On several occasions the Yang Dipertuan Muda and the Resident issued counsel and advice to his mother and to Sultan Mahmud himself, with the result that he abandoned the idea of going to Singapore.

The Yang Dipertuan Muda stayed in Lingga and administered the state. At that time Sultan Mahmud had many disagreements with the Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Abd al-Rahman and the Resident of Riau concerning administration, ideas, aims, and policies. The reader will understand that the ideas of the young are opposed to the ideas of their elders who are used to ruling, while the young are not yet used to it. They do not welcome the advice and counsel of their elders but follow their own inclinations with their young attendants.[31] This was the reason then, that disagreements arose …[32]

The Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Abd al-Rahman had been in Lingga for two or three months and had experienced many differences of opinion with Sultan Mahmud. The Yang Dipertuan Muda found difficulty considering [the matter before him] and continually sent news to the Resident and kept him informed [of the situation], seeking counsel as to how to reform Sultan Mahmud so that he would remain in his kingdom. The Resident of Riau, too, was constantly advising Sultan Mahmud to stay in his kingdom and govern it well. Notwithstanding this, Sultan Mahmud still had disagreements with Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Abd al-Rahman. Then, at about this time, rumors were started by the servants and attendants that Sultan Mahmud was going to attack the Yang Dipertuan Muda‘s house at night, and words were used to malign the Yang Dipertuan Muda‘s good name. The Yang Dipertuan Muda was furious and would have ordered that the attack on his house by servants and attendants be resisted by force. But he accepted the reasoning of one of his relatives, Raja Ali Hajji, and one of the elders from the upper class, Enche Jawa, that there should be no conflict, and he avoided creating a disturbance. The following day the Yang Dipertuan Muda sailed back to Riau, as though he had taken offence at their behavior.

When he reached Riau, the Resident was aware that Sultan Mahmud had treated the Yang Dipertuan Muda improperly. The Yang Dipertuan Muda conferred with his family and with the Resident and reached the decision to invite Sultan Mahmud to renew the pledge of loyalty,[33] which had existed of old between Bugis and Malays, i.e., between the Yang Dipertuan Muda and the Yang Dipertuan Besar.

Following this, the Yang Dipertuan Muda left with his family and about thirty naval vessels, accompanied by the Resident of Riau in his warship, which was commanded by Mr. Ferdokh.[34] When they arrived, the Yang Dipertuan Muda‘s flotilla dropped anchor at Kuala Daik.[35] In the evening Sultan Mahmud came out to the estuary to welcome Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Abd al-Rahman, as though he regretted his past actions. When he met the Yang Dipertuan Muda, he invited him to sail up the river. The Yang Dipertuan Muda asked leave to wait, and Sultan Mahmud waited with him so that they might sail up together in daylight. The following day the Yang Dipertuan Muda sailed upstream with Sultan Mahmud. When they arrived, the Yang Dipertuan Muda‘s vessel berthed at Pangkalan Dalam[36] with the rest of the fleet and the warship. Later, Ferdokh took a sea berth at Kelombo‘.[37]

The Yang Dipertuan Muda stayed in Lingga, governing Sultan Mahmud‘ kingdom. Not long afterwards he invited Sultan Mahmud to renew the traditional pledge of loyalty between the Yang Dipertuan Muda and the Yang Dipertuan Besar—in other words, the pledge of the Bugis rulers with the Malay rulers. So they both gave their pledge in the balai-rong,[38] beneath the fringed umbrellas of state, both holding the glorious Koran, as is the tradition when making a pledge. Immediately afterwards, a cannon was fired to mark the safe conclusion of the pledge.

The Yang Dipertuan Muda stayed in Lingga and discussed measures to wipe out piracy.[39]  As for the Dutch warship, it returned to Riau when the Yang Dipertuan Muda had concluded his pledge of loyalty with Sultan Mahmud. After that, the Yang Dipertuan Muda also went back to Riau. On his return he built a residence and a mosque …[40]

Not long after this, Sultan Mahmud came to Riau and asked that a boat[41] be purchased, worth 36,000 silver rupia, so the Yang Dipertuan Muda purchased it. Soon afterwards the Yang Dipertuan Muda became ill, and by the decree of Almighty God, after a few days he died, on Wednesday, June 19, 1844,[42] at 10:00 p.m., returning to the mercy of Almighty God. Verily we belong to God and to Him we return. There was a commotion at Penyengat and Riau with the princes, the people of the palace, and the populace weeping and wailing. He was buried by Sultan Mahmud and his family, according to the ritual followed when great rulers die. About one month later, Engku Puteri[43] also died, on Monday, August 5, 1855,[44] at 3:00 p.m. She was buried by her brother, Engku Hajji Ahmad, and his family in her own kota,[45] and Ahmad had a vault made.

As for Sultan Mahmud, after the death of the Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Abd al-Rahman, the representative of the Dutch government, the Resident of Riau, asked who would succeed the late Yang Dipertuan Muda.[46] Sultan Mahmud requested time to consider[47] and to confer with the princes of Penyengat, but he could not reach an agreement with the princes and the elders of Penyengat. Meanwhile the Resident was pressing for the appointment of a successor to Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Abd al-Rahman, but Sultan Mahmud did not want to make the appointment.

Finally, Sultan Mahmud proposed three candidates to await [his] decision as to which was to become the Yang Dipertuan Muda: first, the brother of the late Yang Dipertuan Muda, Raja Ali; second, his brother, Raja Hajji Abdullah; and third, Raja Idris, son of the deceased. After having appointed his representatives, Sultan Mahmud departed for Singapore.

When the Resident learned what Sultan Madmud had done, he was far from pleased, because he had nothing definite to inform the Governor-General in Batavia.[48] The Resident then consulted the princes and the elders on Penyengat as to whether Sultan Mahmud‘s actions had any precedent. The princes, high officials, and elders replied that nothing like that had ever happened before. Then the Resident indicated that he wished the princes to come to an agreement as to who was fit to become the Raja Muda.[49] The majority of the princes suggested Engku Hajji Raja Abdullah, brother of the late Yang Dipertuan Muda. Then Raja Hajji Abdullah spoke to his kinsmen: "The Resident of Riau is asking for our collective opinion about who should become Raja Muda. I, myself, am out of it, so long as my elder brother Ali is here. I do not wish to take precedence over him." Raja Juma‘at, also a brother of the late Raja Abd al-Rahman and the eldest of Raja Ja‘afar‘s sons but of a different mother to the late Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Abd al-Rahman, replied: "As far asI am concerned, it doesn‘t seem right that it should be anyone else but my younger brother, Ali." Then all his relatives and the princes answered: "We all feel the same way; if it were anyone else but Raja Ali, it would seem less than proper." Raja Ali Hajji then spoke: "If you are really speaking sincerely, you should each put your signature on paper to our agreement." All the princes replied: "So is it." Then Raja Ali Hajji took ink and paper, and each of the princes signed. So the matter was agreed, at 9:00, Wednesday, June 26, 1844,[50] in the balairong of the late Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Abd al-Rahman.

When the deliberations had concluded, Engku Hajji Abdullah sent Hajji Ibrahim,[51] son of Dato‘ Shahbandar Abdullah, to the Resident with the letter [containing] the decision of the princes. When the Resident of Riau received the letter, he was pleased and said: "Hajji Ibrahim, the princes‘ decision is in accord with my own and with that of the Dutch government." Then he continued:

Of the Sultan‘s three candidates the only one I could accept was Raja Ali; but Raja Abdullah must not feel slighted because of this incident with the Sultan. There were two matters which were not at all according to our statues.[52] [First] we requested that only one [person] is chosen to become Yang Dipertuan Muda; the Sultan proposed three as if to ridicule the government. Second, the Sultan selected three candidates who were all worthy of becoming Yang Dipertuan [Muda], and all three were left with the authority of Raja Muda, the Sultan deliberately seeing to it that the Riau princes would quarrel and that there would be dissension within the state. It was as well that the princes of Penyengat had the good sense to come to an agreement, because if they had not the Sultan would certainly have [succeeded in] creating contention. One further matter, when the late Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Abd al-Rahman was still alive, he had already appointed his brother Raja Ali as Kelana[53] in his administration. It is only proper that he should succeed him in the realm. Why wasn‘t the Sultan content to follow the principles and ways of his forbears?

Hajji Ibrahim replied: "That is something about which I dare not speak because Your Excellency knows best."

Then Hajji Ibrahim returned and reported the Resident‘s words to Engku Hajji Raja Abdullah and to all the princes. So it was definitely settled that Raja Ali should be appointed Yang Dipertuan Muda of Riau because he was the choice of the princes as well as pleasing to the Dutch government.

While Sultan Mahmud was having a holiday in Singapore, he met the Temenggong, Tun Ibrahim, Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Ali‘s brother in law. Sultan Mahmud told him how he had nominated three candidates for the Yang Dipertuan Mudaship, because he wished for [time] to consider [the matter]. Temenggong Ibrahim replied: "In my opinion, if the way is still open for it,[54] Raja Ali should succeed the late Yang Dipertuan Muda. Indeed, there is no one else suitable or even willing." After hearing Dato‘ Temenggong Ibrahim‘s opinion, Sultan Mahmud was silent. He later returned to Lingga escorted by the Temenggong.

Not long after his arrival in Lingga, [the Temenggong] asked leave to return to Singapore, wishing also to stop at Riau to meet Raja Ali. Sultan Mahmud then composed a letter, inviting Raja Ali to Lingga for the presentation of his regalia, making him Yang Dipertuan Muda of Riau. He gave the letter to Dato‘ Temenggong Ibrahim and further requested him to urge Raja Ali to come to Lingga within the month. So the Temenggong left Lingga for Riau, and, when he arrived, went ashore to meet Raja Ali. He gave him Sultan Mahmud‘s letter and said: "Sultan Mahmud commanded me to ask you to haste; to Lingga within the month." Raja Ali replied: "I will obey his command, but I wish to assemble my relatives, wherever they are, because I am going to be appointed [their] leader.[55] If I can‘t ask my own family, whom can I invite to participate in my coronation?" The Temenggong replied that this was so. When he had finished his conversation with Raja Ali, the Temenggong asked leave to return. So he went back to Singapore, where he stayed at Telok Belanga.

As for Raja Ali, after Temenggong Ibrahim had returned to Singapore, he assembled all his relatives from among the princes and then conferred with them about travelling to Lingga to attend Sultan Mahmud. After consulting with them, Raja Ali sailed for Lingga. When he arrived there, he attended Sultan Mahmud and concluded a document of loyalty. Afterwards Sultan Mahnud installed Raja Ali and bestowed the regalia on him, making him Yang Dipertuan Muda of Riau-Lingga and dependencies and following the time honored ritual for the installation. The ceremonies began on July 22 and continued until Wednesday, August 27, 1845,[56] and thus his title was ratified.

When Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Ali had completed his business, he asked leave of Sultan Mahmud to return to Riau. The Sultan granted it, and the Yang Dipertuan Muda set sail. When he arrived, he was respectfully received by the Resident of Riau with a cannon salute from the Hill[57] and with salvoes from Penyengat. All the Chinese put to sea in scores of fishing boats with gongs and cymbals to welcome the Yangdipertuan Muda. Then he came ashore to pay his respects to his uncle, Engku Hajji Ahmad, and to his mother, Raja Lebar. Afterwards he returned to his residence to entertain all his relatives.

In the course of his reign, Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Ali instituted some important things which brought glory to the name of the realm and strengthened the religion.[58] His brother, Engku Hajji Raja Abdullah, generally called Engku Hajji Muda, was the one who implemented them for him. It began with the organization and arrangement of food for his relatives from the Riau revenues,[59] wherever the late Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Abd al-Rahman had not been able to do it. Where it was appropriate and possible, he updated their allowances. He did the same with the regulations concerning the tenure of all official state positions held by his relatives, and he held frequent consultations before delegating responsibility [to those] who did not seem unsuitable or unworthy in the estimation of the elders and in the eyes of people of intelligence and discernment. Moreover, he delighted in close discussions on matters of state, and he liked asking the elders and high officials for their ideas and opinions and personally sought out in their homes people like Shahbandar Abdullah and Ponggawa[60] Ahmad, not to mention his senior relatives.

Before he had become Raja the late Raja Muda Abd al-Rahman had had him made Kelana to improve the outer territories.[61] He went alike to the houses of the elders and the high officials to ask their advice and guidance, only then setting out on his travels. Further-more, he was fond [of the company] of learned men, both respecting and honoring them; when he was the [Yang Dipertuan Muda‘s] representative in Lingga, there was a learned Bandjarese, Hajji Hamin, whom, on the advice of his cousin Raja Ali Hajji, he brought back with him, and paid him an allowance. He revered the learned hajji and would not walk before him. He never missed the Friday service, being humble before Muslim scholars, and so it was with his uncles, like Raja Ismail and Raja Ja‘afar [to whom] he was very polite and courteous. In the same spirit he was not comfortable sitting in a chair if his seniors were on the ground or if tuan sayyid[62] were present.

It was his custom to enjoy entertaining those relatives who would come to him on a certain day, and likewise he too would visit them in their houses. During his reign he upheld the Islamic faith, attending the mosque on Fridays and ordering women to be veiled. He completed the construction of the mosque, [63] which the late Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Abd al-Rahman had left unfinished because of his death. He later had a bridge constructed of wood and stone, so that the faithful could comfortably get about when the tide was down.[64]

In the time of Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Ali, many religious scholars came. After consultation with his relative, Raja Ali Hajji, he paid their expenses and ordered all state officials to study religion, recite religious works, and to improve their recitation of the glorious Koran. He himself loved the quest for knowledge. His relative, Raja Ali Hajji, selected several learned men, like Sayyid Abdullah Bahrain and others, to settle and teach in Penyengat for a year. When they left they were given 400 to 500 ringgit.[65]

Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Ali prohibited the wearing of gold and silk. He exiled all malefactors and forbad [recreations] like gambling and cockfighting; these pastimes were no longer tolerated. If a Muslim was discovered gambling or cockfighting he was punished accordingly. Even when celebrating his own son‘s wedding, he would not allow any gambling or cockfighting. Pirates were punished, sometimes with exile and sometimes with death by beheading. This was done several times and acted as a deterrent to others. Furthermore Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Ali abhorred those who indulged in pleasures which lead to loose behavior between men and women and those who sang and crooned pantun[66] with veiled invitations to adultery. Sometimes he ordered the instruments of those who serenaded near the houses of decent people to be confiscated, so that their young girls would not be corrupted and so that there was nothing unseemly in the state.

He was like this because he enjoyed the company of learned men, liked to hear their moral instruction and advice, and enjoyed having religious works recited to him. It was Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Ali who received a gift from the government of about 40,000 rupia because of his wise counsel and cooperation with the Resident. From the Governor-General[67] in Batavia he received a valuable silver tea and coffee set, and he received as a gift from the King of Prussia[68] a clock, which chimed automatically and was ornamented with a mechanical golden singing bird. He also received a beautiful crown and some gold and silver cloth. He wore the crown in the mosque at Penyengat. Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Ali also received a gift from a Dutch prince called Hertokh[69] a pistol chased with silver (the pistol had been given to Hertokh by a Pasha). Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Ali received an increase [in his share] of the Riau revenues from the government, bringing the total to 6,000 rupia, in recognition of the good counsel and courtesy which the Resident had received from him and his family. . . .[70]

Let us talk now of Sultan Mahmud in Lingga, who conceived the idea of wanting to go to Trengganu with his mother. When the time was propitious he sailed for Trengganu. On his arrival the Yangdipertuan of Trengganu[71] honored both his sister, Tengku Teh, and his nephew, Yang Dipertuan Besar Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar Shah, so he stayed in Trengganu, being regaled and entertained as is customary among royalty newly reunited with their relatives.

After some time in Trengganu, he returned to Lingga, stopping at Riau for a short time before going on to Lingga. Later he set out again for a pleasure trip to Singapore. He joined a Christian religious society called Freemasons,[72] and became friends with a Parsee called Cursetjee.[73] 

When he returned to Lingga he built a residence in European style, 56[74] which was spacious and beautifully constructed. Never had the Riau-Lingga kings had such a residence built, complete with fine and beautiful furnishings and stocked with various European foods and drinks, and with paintings on the walls. When Europeans came, like the Resident of Riau and others, they were received and entertained in this residence, He also kept some large dogs and cared for them as would a European. There is nothing wrong with having a European house as long as this does not entail a change in religion. . . .[75]

Raja Abdullah, Engku Hajji Muda, conferred with his relatives on Penyengat and with worthy elders, then he sent a letter to Sultan Mahmud on Lingga with keepsakes,[76] and he also sent keepsakes to Singapore with a letter. The messengers set sail. When the Lingga messenger arrived, there was a commotion when it was learned that the Yangdipertuan Muda Raja Ali had died. His wife wept with all those who were in his Lingga residence, and they held a funeral feast as is customary on the death of a great king. When Sultan Mahmud received the letter from Riau, he wanted to go there. A perahu was sent from Riau to fetch him, and he set sail.

On his arrival, the Engku Muda, Raja Hajji Abdullah, and Engku Hajji were in attendance and invited him to come ashore to the palace at Kampong Bulang. There all the princes on Penyengat came to attend him and awaited his announcement as to who would succeed the late [ruler]. But no announcement of a decision was forthcoming, and the princes were disappointed because their leader had not yet been determined. The person whom Sultan Mahmud had decided was to succeed the late Raja Ali was his [Raja Ali‘s] son, Raja Muhammad Yusuf, who was his [own] son-in-law. But Raja Muhammad Yusuf was unwilling to succeed his father as long as his uncle, the Engku Hajji Muda [was alive]. He was even willing to be estranged from Sultan Mahmud and risk his displeasure rather than be alienated from his uncle, the Engku Hajji Muda. This had the effect of frustrating Sultan Mahmud‘s wishes and prevented his deciding on a successor to the Yang Dipertuan Muda. The Resident, too, was pressing for a decision on a successor.

Sultan Mahmud had no desire to settle it because the princes and elders on Penyengat had already decided for several reasons that the only fitting successor to the late Raja Ali could be the Engku Hajji Muda. Firstly, the Engku Hajji Muda was already acquainted with the ways of government. Secondly, he was versed in both religious and traditional law.[77] Thirdly, as long as he was present, there was no one from among the princes, young or old, who wished to become Yang Dipertuan Muda, providing that the person favored by Sultan Mahmud did not wish to be so. Fourthly, the government representative approved the decision of the people of Riau, and he upheld article 7 of the contract, which dealt with the conditions for the appointment of the Raja Muda: if the Dutch government did not approve of the Sultan of Riau and Lingga‘s choice, there could be no appointment, unless Sultan Mahmud followed the government‘s directions. For these four reasons, the Resident held Engku Hajji Muda Raja Abdullah as a suitable successor to his brother, the late Raja Ali, and requested that Sultan Mahmud appoint him forthwith, lest affairs of state be further impeded. But Sultan Mahmud paid no attention to the advice of the Resident and the people but still wanted his own way. This was the root of the conflict between Sultan Mahmud and the Resident of Riau, and all the princes, high officials, and elders on Penyengat.

In the meantime, there was much he said and did which neither met with the approval of the Dutch government nor the people. Sultan Mahmud wished to go to Singapore and leave the matter undecided. The Resident tried to persuade him not to go[78] before settling such a grave matter which was weighing heavily on the state of Riau-Lingga. Sultan Mahmud, however, paid no heed to the Resident‘s advice but still strongly insisted on going to Singapore. All this caused much concern to the Engku Hajji Muda, Raja Abdullah, lest there be a breach between Sultan Mahmud and the Dutch government. So he ventured to offer a letter of advice which read:

About the matter of the Raja Mudaship; we are [now] completely at your disposal to do as you wish, as if indeed we have not already done your will for generations past. I beg you, do not quarrel with the Dutch government and do not break the contract which your forbears entered into and which you [yourself] have ratified.

But Sultan Mahmud paid no heed to the Engku Hajji Muda‘s request and still wanted to leave for Singapore the next day. Engku Hajji Muda was silent, being at his wits end.

Meanwhile Sultan Mahmud had sent a messenger to the Resident of Riau asking for the Riau revenue money. The Resident replied: "The Riau revenues had already been pledged in the contract; under article 16,[79] the money belongs to the Raja Muda. So now, quickly appoint a Raja Muda, so that we may hand the money over to him as [stipulated] in the contract." When Sultan Mahmud heard the Resident‘s reply, his fury increased, and there were many improper words which I will not record in this history. Suffice it for those with intelligence to imagine the words of two people disagreeing.

The Riau revenues were withheld for about two months, and the princes and elders of Penyengat suffered hardship because they were all accustomed to receiving their monthly allowance regularly. Now it was withheld because of Sultan Mahmud‘s behavior in not appointing a successor to the Yang Dipertuan Muda. The result was that many who were penniless came to pester the Engku Hajji Muda, who distributed about 1,700 ringgit to his distressed relatives. Where he was short he borrowed a sum of about 1,000 ringgit from the Chinese.

Sultan Mahmud wished to leave for Singapore the next day. The Resident detained him, asking who was to be appointed because the people on Penyengat were in difficulties, especially the Engku Hajji Muda, Raja Abdullah. He was at the mercy of his relatives because he had been nominated in the late Raja Ali‘s will [to care for] all his family. Sultan Mahmud took no notice of the Resident‘s restraints but sailed to Singapore in his schooner.[80] The Engku Hajji Muda sent for his son, Raja Muhammad Yusuf. He said: "Try to follow Sultan Mahmud; I‘ll send you a small perahu and as much money as I can for expenses." So Raja Muhammad Yusuf set out to follow the Sultan as envoy from his father, the Engku Hajji Muda.

When Sultan Mahmud set sail, the Resident of Riau felt humiliated because [his orders for] Sultan Mahmud to stay had been disregarded and so the code of the high officials had been dishonored. If the Resident was dishonored, this reflected onto the Dutch government. Moreover, the Dutch government had had a plan for Sultan Mahmud—a certain government decree[81] which would not have harmed his kingship. But even this, Sultan Mahmud did not want to accept, and this also offended and caused embarrassment to the Dutch government. This matter and Sultan Mahmud‘s actions were to have far-reaching consequences.

When Sultan Mahmud reached Singapore, he stayed with his non-Muslim friend Cursetjee, the Parsee, who was a Zoroastrian. Several times Cursetjee tried to coax Raja Muhammad Yusuf into wanting to succeed his late father, Raja Ali, but at this he became angry and said: "Don‘t speak to me like this again. My uncle in Riau will succeed my late father. I have no wish to succeed my father as long as my uncle is alive." Cursetjee was silent.

Meanwhile the Resident had also sent a message to Singapore inviting Sultan Mahmud to return to Riau and requesting him to appoint his representative, the future Raja Muda. But still Sultan Mahmud did not wish to appoint a representative from the Riau princes. In actual fact he was conferring with a prince called Raja Ahmad. . . [82]This was the Raja Ahmad who had been put forward as a candidate by Sultan Mahmud when discussing the matter of the Raja Muda. The Resident‘s messenger returned to Riau without a directive.

On Monday, October 5, [83] a steam warship called the Celebes came from Batavia to Riau and berthed at Tanjungpinang, bringing a commissary, Tuan Mejor.[84] He conferred with the Resident of Riau about Sultan Mahmud. On Tuesday, October 6,[85] a boat which Sultan Mahmud had borrowed from his friend Cursetjee came from Singapore, bringing Raja Ahmad Tengku Long to Riau to be his representative there. Raja Ahmad was competent to be his representative because he would stand up to the Resident. Even if the dispute went as far as Batavia, he would handle it; Sultan Mahmud was not to worry.

When he reached Riau he went ashore to Tanjungpinang to meet the Resident. Raja Ahmad announced that he was Sultan Mahmud‘s representative for Riau affairs and gave him a letter from the Sultan. When the Resident had read it, he understood its purport. Then Raja Ahmad Tengku Long returned to his vessel to await the Resident‘s reply to the letter.

After Raja Ahmad had gone, the Resident sent for Raja Abdullah Engku Hajji Muda. When he came, the Resident said: "Have you met Raja Ahmad Tengku Long?" Raja Abdullah said, "No." So [the Resident] said: "Perhaps you should come and meet him." Then he showed him the letter from Sultan Mahmud which Raja Ahmad had brought. Raja Abdullah read as follows:

We wish to inform our honorable friend that when we were in Lingga, you called us to Riau to discuss a successor to the Raja Muda. When we arrived in Riau, you broached the matter of the government decree. This came at a time when the late Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Ali was no longer capable of receiving it, let alone ourselves. Furthermore you have requested [that we name] our representative in Riau, so we have sent Raja Ahmad Tengku Long to be our representative there. We desire that you hand over the Riau revenues and the [taxes of the] orang laut[86] to him.

These were the words of Sultan Mahmud‘s letter to the Resident of Riau. It is approximately the text, but I could not vouch for it, because I had it from Raja Abdullah, the Engku Hajji Muda, by word of mouth; I did not copy it from the document.

Then the Resident said to Raja Abdullah: "This is our commissary, sent by the government to divest the Sultan of his realm because of his misdeeds. There are nine matters which implied disrespect for the government and its representative. Tomorrow the proclamation will go out." Raja Abdullah was shocked when he heard this and fell silent. Then he asked the Resident‘s leave to return to Penyengat.

When he arrived he assembled his relatives and told them that Sultan Mahmud was going to be deposed by the Dutch government. This plunged them all into thought because nothing like it had ever happened before. Then they discussed it and [decided to] send a letter containing three points to the Resident of Riau. Firstly, "that our good name and institutions should never be allowed to disappear; secondly, that the government support Raja Abdullah and his successors in any future difficulty; thirdly, that our names be expunged from what is an affair of the Dutch government so that we cannot be accused of treason." The Resident accepted all their requests. The letter was written amidst extreme turmoil on Tuesday, October 6, at 3:00 p.m.

The following day, Wednesday, at 7:00 a.m., the commissary set sail with one other European called von de Wall,[87] who was an expert in the Malay language. They sailed to Singapore[88] in the steamship Celebes, and, when they arrived, they both called on the Governor of Singapore.[89] Then they set out to find Sultan Mahmud, going everywhere, even to the Temenggong‘s house, but without success. Finally they found him in Cursetjee‘s house on the hill. The commissary then read the proclamation deposing Sultan Mahmud from his kingdom.[90] The Sultan‘s expression altered only slightly[91] when he heard it. Then the commissary returned to Riau, leaving a copy of the proclamation with Sultan Mahmud. They reached Riau that night.

The following day, Thurday, at 8:00, the Resident and the commissary invited Raja Abdullah, the Engku Hajji Muda, to come to Tanjungpinang, and the Resident honored him as befitted a Yang Dipertuan Muda. Then he said: "The Sultan had already been deposed, and now Lingga and Riau are without both a Yangdipertuan Besar and a Yang Dipertuan Muda. So the government now appoints you as the Yang Dipertuan Muda to rule the realm of Riau-Lingga and dependencies according to custom." Then the letter of his appointment was read so that all might hear it, and the cannon in the fort were fired.






[1] The file was downloaded from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3350684

[2] I would like to acknowledge the help and advice I have received from Professor C. Skinner and Drs. L. Brakel. I wish to thank Dr. C. H. H. Wake, Department of History, University of Western Australia, for permission to quote from his "Nineteenth Century Johore: Ruler and Realm in Transition" (Ph.D. thesis, Australian National University, 1966).

[3] The Malay spelling of places and titles has been retained in this article.

[4] This is a manuscript in the library of the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka in Kuala Lumpur. It was identified by Moh‘d. Khalid Saidin and noted in his article, "Naskhah2 Lama Mengenai Sejarah Negeri Johor," Dewan Bahasa, XV, No. 18 (August 1971), pp. 340-341. From a sample of four pages which he kindly sent me, it seems that this manuucript is very close to the "Maxwell 2" manuscript.

[5] Catalogued by Ph. S. van Ronkel, under the title "Sjadjarah Radja2 Riouw," Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, LX (1908), p. 207. The manuscript was copied in 1896.

[6] P. Voorhoeve, "List of Malay Manuscripts in the Library of the Royal Asiatic Society, London," Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (April 1963), p. 68.

[7] Journal of the Malayan Branch Royal Asiatic Society, X, Part 2 (1932). A romanization of Winstedt‘s text was unaertaken by Inche Munir bin Ali (Singapore: Malaysia Publications, 1965). This text was reviewed by C. Skinner, in the Journal of Southeast Asian History, VIII, No. 2 (1967), p. 325.

[8] See, for example, Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa (Singapore: Al-Ahmadiah Press, 1928), which was intended to be a dictionary, but many of the definitions were used as vehicles for the author‘s moral percepts.

[9] The passage chosen for translation from the Tuhfat begins with Mahmud‘s succession to the full powers of the Sultanate, after the death of his father.

[10] He was the younger brother of Husain, whom Raffles and Farquhar had installed as Sultan of Singapore in 1819.

[11] C. van Angelbeek, "Korte Schets van het eiland Lingga en deszelfs Bewoners," Verhandelingen van het Bataviaasch Genootschap, XI, (1826), p. 45.

[12] E. Netscher, "Beschrijving van een Gedeelte der Residentie Riouw," Tijdschrift voor Indische Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, II (1853), p. 262.

[13] E. Netscher ("Beschrijving," p. 153) mentions a second marriage by Mahmud, which is not recorded in the Tuhfat. This marriage was to the daughter of Yang Dipertuan Muda Abd al-Rahman. Unlike his father and grandfather who had many children by concubines, Mahmud had only one, to a woman called Sajah.

[14] Wake, "Nineteenth Century Johore," p. 140.

[15] Chadin (Kanjanavanit) Flood (trans.), the Dynastic Chronicles Bangkok Era: The Fourth Reign (Tokyo:-ToyoBunko, Center for East Asian Cultural Studies, 1965).

[16] The Dynastic Chronicles, I, p. 242.

[17] Wake, “Nineteenth Century Johore,” p. 149.

[18] Ibid., p. 151.

[19] The Dynastic Chronicles, II, p. 307

[20] Some lines of the Tuhfat have occasionally been omitted from the translation, because they are not relevant to the story of Sultan Mahmud. Where omissions occur, they have been indicated by dots, and the content of the passage summarized in a footnote.

[21] See the genealogy of Bugis Yang Dipertuan Muda on p. 146.

[22] The title "Engku Kelana" indicates that he is the Yang Dipertuan Muda‘s successor.

[23] Usually known as Raja Hajji Ali or Raja Ali Hajji (see the genealogy). He is the author of the Tuhfat al-Nafis.  European writers often confuse him with his cousin Ali, who became Yang Dipertuan Muda; however, only the author bears the title "hajji." Raja Hajji Ali served his royal cousins as a scholar and religious adviser.

[24] The Tuhfat gives Daheng Rongge‘s genealogy, which has been omitted from the translation. His distant forbears included one of the first Bugis princes to settle in Riau, Daheng Perani, who married a Malay princess. The title Daheng is Buginese and is reserved for the nobility not of royal descent. Daheng Rongge‘, properly known as Tun Ibrahim, was born on the island of Bulan, in the Riau archipelago in 1811. He was taken to Singapore at the age of eight, where he became familiar with European customs. In 1825 his father, Temenggong Abd al-Rahman, died and his elder brother Abdullah became chief. Abdullah suffered periodic insanity and was never installed as Temenggong. In 1833—1834 Ibrahim superseded his brother as chief and was formally installed as Temenggong in 1841. His son, Abu Bakar, succeeded him as Temenggong and was later confirmed Sultan of Johor. Ibrahim died in 1862. Wake, "Nineteenth Century Johore," p. 62.

[25] The Temenggong‘s settlement on the central south coast of Singapore, near the present-day Keppel Harbor (see map).

[26] Sir Samuel George Bonham, born 1803, joined the government of Fort Marlborough in 1818 and transferred to Singapore in 1823. He was Singapore‘s Resident Councillor 1834-1836 and Acting Governor for several months in the years 1834-1835. He was Governor of Singapore from December 1836 to January 1843. Wake, "Nineteenth Century Johore," p. 65.

[27] Although living at Singapore with a British-installed Sultan, the Temenggong gave his allegiance to his traditional overlord at Lingga.

[28] Elisa Netscher, who visited Riau in 1849, 1856, and 1857 and became Resident of Riau in 1861, records his personal impressions of Sultan Mahmud in his monograph, "De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak, 1602 tot 1865," Verhandelingen van het Bataviaasch Genootschap, XXXV (1870), p. 299. He had had official contact with the Sultan several times and considered him intelligent but without sufficient experience to look after his own interests and those of his kingdom. In Singapore he fells prey to a group of unscrupulous Europeans and the Parsee Cursetjee, who pandered to his vanity and love of pleasure. They encouraged him to spend his money on expensive trifles and gained for themselves monopoly rights and exclusive privileges. Netscher blames these "friends" for urging him to buy a steamship, whose engine was in such disrepair that it had to be rowed to Lingga. These Europeans were also responsible for persuading him to build his European-style residence on Lingga, to fill it with costly furnishings, and to keep horses and carriages.

[29] A. L. Andriesse, Resident of Riau, 1839-1848.

[30] Sister of Sultan Umar of Trengganu

[31] This is the first indication that Sultan Mahmud interested himself in the administration of the kingdom. The author of the Tuhfat ascribes Mahmud‘s clashes with the Yang Dipertuan Muda and the Resident to his youth and unwillingness to conform to the traditional pattern of following the advice of his seniors.

[32] The passage omitted describes the return of the Yang Dipertuan Muda‘s brother, Abdullah, from a year‘s visit to Mecca. He brought two Muslim scholars to teach Islam in Riau. When he heard that his brother was in Lingga with the Sultan, he sailed there to meet him.

[33] This pledge was the legal basis for the existence of the Bugis Yang Dipertuan Muda. It was regarded as a pact between not only the Sultan and the Yang Dipertuan Muda but also between Malays and Bugis. The first contract was made in 1722 and was renewed by each new Sultan and Yang Dipertuan Muda. The contract was binding on the rulers‘ descendants in perpetuity and states that the Buginese rulers and the Sultan of Johor shall regard each other as brothers and regard the interests of their respective lands as one. The history of the renewal of this pledge is preserved in von de Wall manuscript 621, Djakarta Museum.

[34] P-r-d-w-kh. He has not yet been identified.

[35] G. F. de Bruyn Kops gives a contemporary description of Daik in "Sketch of the Rhio-Lingga Archipelago," Journal of the Indian Archipelago, IX (1855), pp. 99-100.

[36] The landing stage for the Sultan‘s kampong.

[37] The Eastern Archipelago Pilot (London: British Admiralty, 1953), IV, pp. 217-218, says that Kelombo‘ is a hilly islet in the roadstead of Lingga, surrounded by a reef. To its north, anchorage can be obtained in a depth of about five fathoms (see map).

[38] A pavilion, with different levels for various state officials, the Sultan being at the top. It was used an audience hall and for state ceremonies. The penghulu balai was responsible for the preparation of the balai for ceremonial occasions when it was hung with curtains and drapes. Hadji Ibrahim‘s Tjakap2 Rampai2 Bahasa Malajoe Djohor (Batavia: Government Printer, 1868), I, p. 241. Netscher ("De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak," p. 299) says the pledge was made June 17, 1844.

[39] Piracy had been a serious problem in the Riau-Lingga archipelago, especially throughout the 1830‘s, when Dutch and British authorities had combined in an effort to destroy some pirate hideouts. See N. Tarling‘s, Piracy and Politics in the Malay World (Melbourne: Cheshire, 1963).

[40] The passage omitted describes Yang Dipertuan Muda Abd al-Rahman‘s religious studies and his encouragement of foreign Muslim scholars to visit Riau.

[41] The vessel was probably the schooner Young Queen, which is mentioned in C. B. Buckley‘s An Anecdotal History of Old Times in Singapore (Kuala Lumpur and Singapore: University of Malaya Press, 1969), pp. 520-521. The Sultan used his boat to transport some Masons to the Raffles Lighthouse for the laying of the foundation stone in 1854.

[42] The Muslim date is 2 Jumad al-akhir, malam senen, 1260. All conversions of dates have followed the Wustenfeld-Mahler‘sche, Vergleichungs-Tabellen (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag GMBH, 1961). However, the "Wednesday" of the converted date does not correspond with the Tuhfat‘s eve of Monday, i.e., Sunday night. Netscher ("De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak," p. 299) dates the Yang Dipertuan Muda‘s death as June 17, which would be a Monday. The Tuhfat probably gave the correct day but the incorrect date.

[43] Engku (or Tengku) Puteri, wife of an earlier Sultan Mahmud, who gave her the island of Penyengat as a home for herself and her family (see the genealogy). She became an international figure in the early 1820‘s, when she refused to surrender the Johor regalia.

[44] The Muslim date is 20 Rajab, malam senen, 1260.

[45] Kota usually indicates a fortified area but can also mean a settlement. Tengku Puteri‘s residence was known as Kota Ranteng.

[46] The contract which the Dutch Residents refer to throughout the translation is that of October 29, 1830. Netscher gives the text in full ("De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak," pp. 290-291). The contract replaced all earlier ones between the Dutch government and Riau-Lingga. Under article 7, the Sultan was required to nominate Yangdipertuan Muda who met with the approval of the Dutch and who were descended from the line of Raja Ja‘afar (see the genealogy).

[47] Netscher ("De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak," p. 299) gives a slightly different interpretation of the Sultan‘s behavior. He says that the Sultan delayed naming a successor because he wished to take the opportunity to abolish the Bugis Yang Dipertuan Mudaship and draw their share of the revenues for himself. Netscher says that Resident Andriesse had considerable difficulty trying to make the Sultan understand that this would be contradictory to the 1830 contract and would be impossible to realize.

[48] Either Pieter Merkus (1841-1844) or Joan C. Reijnst (1844-1845).

[49] In nineteenth-century Riau, a synonym for Yang Dipertuan Muda. The heir to the Sultan (or Yang Dipertuan Besar) bore the title Tengku Besar.

[50] The Muslim date is 9 Jumad al-akhir, Rabu, 1260.

[51] Ibrahim appears in the Tuhfat as confidant, courier, and special agent of the Yang Dipertuan Muda; e.g. in the 1830‘s he was sent on several diplomatic missions.

[52] Probably refers to the treaty of 1830

[53] Hadji Ibrahim (Tjakap2 Rampai2 Bahasa Malajoe Djohor, I, pp. 319-321) stated that whoever was going to succeed the Yang Dipertuan Muda bore the title Engku Kelana. His duties were to participate in discussions, to execute the orders of the Yang Dipertuan Muda, and to punish those who disobey the Yang Dipertuan Muda‘s commands, even to the point of waging war on them.

[54] The Malay is: jika lain daripada itu. The Temenggong is saying that he knows the Sultan had given his decision, but if the way is still open for an alternative, Raja Ali should be nominated.

[55] The Malay is: tua, probably an abbreviation for ketua (elder or leader).

[56] The Muslim dates are 17 Rajab and 23 Sha‘aban, 1261. Netscher ("De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak," p. 299) says that the two rulers sealed the pledge of loyalty on July 19, 1845. Further information about the installation date is given at the end of a manuscript of the Hikayat Negeri Johor (Kuala Lumpur, 24. A), which says that Sultan Mahmud gave RaJa Ali the Yang Dipertuan Muda‘s seal and pledge of loyalty on July 20, 1845.

[57] This refers to the Dutch garrison, Fort Kroonprins, at Tanjong Pinang. G. F. de Bruyn Kops ("Sketch," p. 73) describes this fort.

[58] By eulogizing the Yangdipertuan Muda, the author of the Tuhfat is tacitly censuring the Sultan. It is interesting that his praise is centered on those policies in which he had a personal interest, e.g. the promotion of Islam and the welfare of relatives.

[59] Netscher ("Beschrijving," p. 158) lists Yangdipertuan Muda Ali‘s revenues. He stresses that the minimum total was f. 105,000. The bulk of the income came from f. 72,000 paid to him by the Dutch as compensation for cessation of the revenues of Riau. It was probably this sum that the Sultan later felt was his.

[60] Hadji Ibrahim, (Tjakap2 Rampai2 Bahasa Malajoe Djohor, I, p. 237) says the ponggawa is the laksamana‘s equivalent on land, i.e. he is the chief of the army. If a Malay, his title is panglima perang besar, if a Bugis, ponggawa. Ibrahim (p. 339) says that in Sanskrit the title means lembu jantan (bull).

[61] The outer territories were considered to be the smaller islands of the Riau-Lingga archipelago and the settlements on the adjacent Sumatran coast, especially those around Amphitrite Bay.

[62] Traditionally sayyid are the descendants of the Prophet through his grandson Husain. In the Malay world, however, the term is also applied to Arabs who were not descended from the Prophet but were nevertheless accorded great respect.

[63] G. F. de Bruyn Kops ("Sketch," p. 98) describes the mosque.

[64] De Bruyn Kops ("Sketch," p. 98) talks of "a capital stone jetty, with a landing place built on piles," which was built 1848—1849, and so would have been constructed on Yang Dipertuan Muda Ali‘s orders. But other bridges were necessary, because the people of the archipelago used boats as the main means of transport. When the tide was down and they could not use their boats, they either had to walk in the mud or to cross by bridges.

[65] A ringgit is a dollar. Spanish dollars were in currency in Riau and Lingga, at this time valued at approximately 5/-sterling.

[66] Pantun are quatrains, which traditionally have two parts. The first couplet has a hidden meaning, and the second couplet explains the first.

[67] Jacob Rochussen, 1845-1851.

[68] The reigning king of Prussia was Frederick William IV, ruling 1840-1861. There is no record, however, that he visited or was even interested in Southeast Asia.

[69] H-r-t-w-kh. Since the Tuhfat specifies that this was a Dutch prince, it is unlikely that this is the surname "Hartog" but rather the Dutch hertog (duke). The only Dutch prince who visited Indonesia in the nineteenth century was Prins Hendrik, "de Zeevaarder," who was in Java for eight months in 1837. Although he returned to Holland via Riau, on chronological grounds it is unlikely that this is the "Hertog" of the Tuhfat. I am indebted to Drs. Brakel for bringing to my attention a more likely candidate, Hertog Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar (1792-1862). From 1847 until some time after 1850, he was Commander of the Netherlands-Indies army in Java, and it would therefore be appropriate for him to send a gift of a pistol to the Yang Dipertuan Muda of Riau.

[70] The passage omitted tells how Sultan Mahmud had his daughter, Fatimah, married to the Yang Dipertuan Muda‘s son, Muhammad Yusuf, in 1851. The Nakshabandiyyah tarekat (mystical group) was introduced to Penyengat, and the Yang Dipertuan Muda became a member. He also visited Singapore with the Resident of Riau, possibly to consult the British authorities about Sultan Mahmud. In 1851 and 1852, Tengku Ali, would be Sultan of Singapore and Johor, had visited Lingga and offered to transfer his Peninsula inheritance to Sultan Mahmud. The Dutch had informed the British of this offer, and Ali was ordered to return. In 1852 Mahmud had visited Singapore, ostensibly to discuss the development of coal deposits on Lingga. Wake, "Nineteenth Century Johore," p. 127. In 1853, Wake says (p. 129) that Mahmud was in communication with W. H. Read, Tengku Ali‘s adviser. Read did not become Dutch consul in Singapore until 1857, so the Sultan would hardly have consulted him about domestic affairs. Read was a Mason of high standing in Singapore, and it was probably through him that Mahmud became involved with the Brethren of Lodge Zetland in Singapore. It is likely that the Sultan was trying to persuade Read to use his influence over Tengku Ali to prevent him from transferring his rights over Johor to the Temenggong. Wake says (pp. 125 and 127) that Mahmud and Ali were probably trying to retain their authority "in the face of the upstart pretensions of the Bendahara and the Temenggong, who being of royal descent, appeared now to aspire to royal pretensions."

[71] This was Sultan Umar, whose sister, Tengku Teh, was Sultan Mahmud‘s mother. In 1853, Mahmud had strengthened his family ties with Trengganu by marrying one of his sisters to Sultan Umar‘s son (Wake, "Nineteenth Century Johore," p. 127). On this visit to Trengganu in 1854 which the Tuhfat describes, both Wake (p. 128), and Netscher ("De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak," p. 301), say that Mahmud was encouraging his uncle to extend his influence over his neighbors. Umar even wrote officially to the Governor of the Straits Settlements, saying that he recognized the Sultan of Lingga as the rightful sovereign of Johor and Pahang. The British became fearful that Mahmud would start hostilities which could jeopardize their trade on the east coast. Butterworth, the Governor, informed the Dutch of Mahmud‘s actions, saying that he was a bad influence on Tengku Ali and that he was fostering misunderstandings between the Sultan of Trengganu and the rulers of Pahang and Kelantan. The Dutch Governor-General responded by sending Mahmud a letter (dated April 2, 1854), ex-horting him to give up his visits to Singapore and to the Peninsula and to return to Lingga as quickly as possible. Mahmud did return, but made demands of the Dutch Government—an advance of f. 70,000 and a Dutch civil servant at Lingga whom he could treat as a subordinate. The Dutch gave nothing despite the Sultan‘s threat that he could get a European for the job from Singapore.

[72] He was a member of the Brethren of Lodge Zetland in the East, from C. B. Buckley, An Anecdotal History of Old Times in Singapore (Kuala Lumpur and Singapore: University of Malaya Press, 1965), pp. 520-521.

[73] Buckley (An Anecdotal History, p. 350) mentions Cursetjee. He was a Singapore merchant who took over the business of John Martin Little in 1845. "Cursetjee was the son of Frommurzjee Sorabjee, a Parsee merchant, who established his firm in Singapore in 1840 and died on February 17, 1849. Cursetjee afterwards did business on his own account and was very popular in Singapore. He had an English wife. He died here in 1881."

[74] G. F. de Bruyn Kops ("Sketch," p. 100) describes this house. A contemporary Malay account of the construction of this residence is to be found in sha‘ir form in Sha‘ir Sultan Mahmud di Lingga (Ms. in Djakarta Museum, von de Wall, 274).

[75] The passage omitted describes the death of Yang Dipertuan Muda Raja Ali at the age of about 47 in June 1857. His illness and death are described in a manuscript (Djakarta Museum, Bataviaasch Genootschap, 159) which is wrongly entitled Sha‘ir Sultan Mahmud Raja Muda. His brother, Raja Abdullah, the Engku Hajji Muda, took his place as senior Bugis on Penyengat.

[76] These could have been small personal belongings of the deceased, but there is a more specific kind of keepsake in this context. W. W. Skeat, Malay Magic (New York: Dover Publications, 1967), p. 406, says that just before burial the bands tying the shroud are removed. They are then handed to the next of kin, who tear them up and plait the strips into a rough kind of bracelet, which they wear as long as it lasts in memory of the deceased.

[77] The Malay is: hukum shari‘at dan adat istiadat. Al-shari‘at is the revealed or canonical law of Islam. H. Wehr, A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1966).

[78] Although after his 1854 trip, Mahmud had been warned not to return to Trengganu, in August 1856 the Sultan informed the Resident that he was going to Singapore to begin a journey to Trengganu. This was ostensibly to collect his mother. Netscher ("De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak," p. 302) says Mahmud had the guile not to inform the Singapore authorities of his intended destination. However, after his departure Cursetjee informed the British Resident, who sent a ship to collect Mahmud and returned him to Lingga in October 1856. The Dutch had to pacify the British with assurance that stronger measures would be taken against the Sultan. Resident Nieuwenhuijzen and A. A. de Vries went to Lingga with a letter from the Governor-General dated December 14, 1856. The Sultan was told he had violated article 3 of the 1830 contract (the Sultan owed allegiance to the Governor-General, and they shared common enemies), and that it was only as a great favor that the Governor-General was not exercising his right (article 6 of the contract) to deny him government protection. The Sultan was now forbidden to move outside his territory without the Governor-General‘s permission. If he was disobedient or disrespectful to the government again, he would lose his kingdom. A letter was also sent to the Yang Dipertuan Muda warning him not to provide the Sultan with vessels for his travels. Apparently the Yang Dipertuan Muda had complained to Batavia about Resident Nieuwenhuijzen because in the letter the Governor-General expressed his complete confidence in his Resident and said he would not be replaced. This suggests that in Riau Nieuwenhuijzen was not very diplomatic, and it is possible that his attidue and actions aggravated the Dutch position with Sultan Mahmud. However, here he is obviously reminding the Sultan of the Governor-General‘s ultimatum that he was not to leave Riau-Lingga without permission.

[79] Actually the article concerning the Yang Dipertuan Muda‘s revenues is number 17. It deals with the compensation of the Yang Dipertuan Muda for the loss of the revenues of Riau.

[80] Netscher ("De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak," p. 303) dates his departure as August 30, 1857.

[81] Netscher makes no mention of a special government decree other than the Governor-General‘s warning of 1856.

[82] The passage omitted describes Raja Ahmad‘s forbears. He was a descendant of a Bugis Raja Tua, who betrayed the Bugis in one of the periods of Malay-Bugis conflict on Riau in the early 1760‘s. Yang Dipertuan Muda Kamboja exiled the Raja Tua to Palembang. Obviously the Bugis on Penyengat would never support such a candidate. The choice of Raja Ahmad also violated article 7 of the 1830 contract.

[83] The Muslim date is Ahad, (Sunday) 15 Safar. As the 15 Safar fell on a Monday, either the day or the date in the Tuhfat is incorrect. Evidence from Netscher ("De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak," p. 305) suggests that the Tuhfat‘s day is correct, but that the date is incorrect. All further dates in the translation have been adjusted in view of this discrepancy.

[84] He has not yet been identified. It appears that "Mejor" is a title and not a surname. Netscher ("De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak," pp. 305-306) gives a full account of Dutch proceedings at this time, and only mentions that Resident Nieuwenhuijzen and Assistant Resident von de Wall were concerned with the action taken against Sultan Mahmud.

[85] The Muslim date is thalatha, 17 Safar.

[86] G. F. de Bruyn Kops ("Sketch," p. 108) describes the orang laut: "There are two distinct classes to be distinguished amongst the Malays, the orang darat and the orang laut. . . . The first named reside on land, are traders, agriculturalists, handicraftsmen and the like. The second class have their residence in prahus, in which they constantly live with their families." Netscher ("Beschrijving,"‘p. 127) estimates their number as 15,000, but this figure probably includes the orang laut around the eastern coast of Sumatra as well as in the Riau-Lingga archipelago. Netscher (p. 155) says the Sultan kept his revenues from lands and subjects confidential, but that he estimates the amount to be 40,000 Spanish dollars per annum.

[87] Hermann von de Wall was sent to Riau in 1855 as Assistant Resident to compile a Malay-Dutch Dictionary. He was later made Resident of Riau, where he died in 1873.

[88] Netscher (“De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak,” p. 305) says they arrived in Singapore on October 7, 1857. It is quit possible to make a return journey from Riau to Singapore in one day by steamship.

[89] Edmund A. Blundell, Governor of Singapore (1855—1859).

[90] Netscher (“De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak,” p. 304—305) gives the full text of the manifesto, which was dated September 23, 1857 and signed by Governor-General Pahud. The reasons for the deposition were that: 1) the Sultan had repeatedly overlooked his obligation as a vassal of the government; 2) despite the exhortations of the Resident and Governor-General, he had meddled in the affairs of rulers on the Malay Peninsula, who were under British protection; 3) he had even gone to Trengganu with an armed force and hostile intentions, misleading the British authorities in Singapore about the object of his journey.

[91] Netscher (“De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak,” p. 305) confirms this: the Sultan received the news zonder de minste blijkbare aandoening.” In this respect, at least, the Sultan conformed to the behavior that tradition demanded.

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