35 Thousand recognised books… and counting

Following five years of working down on the OCR Farm we are taking an extended sabbatical – all our ‘creatures’ have been put out to pasture and preserved here in time for your pleasure and enjoyment. 

The last five years have been an amazing revelation and education; trawling through history, re-living it through the eyes of those that have gone before us (when we got time to read through the library of course).

Read our early WordPress Blog from 2007 on how it all started.

A tremendous amount of time was devoted to preparation, presentation and refinement.

We are working on other projects.  We might resume work on the library if there is a demand.

Enjoy

Team Ultrapedia

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1857 – Borneo Company Steamer

In the meantime the Rajah arrived opposite the Chinese quarter, and found a complete panic prevailing, and all those Malays and Dyaks who had preceded him flying in every direction. Having in vain attempted to restore order, he drew up his boat on the opposite bank to cover the retreat, and after a sharp exchange of musketry fire he returned to Samarahan to carry out his original intention.

The Rajah joined the fugitives, and his first care was to see to the safety of the English ladies, the children, the non-combatants and wounded, and to send them off, under the charge of Bishop Macdougall and others, to the secure and well-armed fort of Linga. He now felt somewhat relieved, as he knew that there his charges would be in perfect safety, as they were surrounded by faithful and brave men, who could have defended the fort against any attack. There were no enemies at Linga, except such as existed in the imaginations of the terror-stricken runaways from Sarawak, who had not yet recovered from their panic.

The Rajah prepared on the following day to take the same route, in order to obtain a base of operations and a secure spot where he could rally the people and await a fresh supply of arms. It was sad, however, to think of the mischief which might happen during this period of enforced inaction, particularly as the Datu Bandhar and a chosen band were still in Kuching on board the large trading vessel, which was surrounded by lighter war prahus. Here was our gentle Bandhar, a man whom no one suspected of such energy, showing the courage of his father, Patingi Ali, who was killed during Keppel’s Sakarang expedition, and directing attacks on the Chinese whenever an opportunity offered. Thus harassed, the rebels were dragging up heavy guns, and it was evident the Malays could not hold out for many days, particularly as there was now little to defend; the flames which reddened the horizon, and the increasing volumes of smoke, told the tale too well that the Malay town was being completely destroyed.

With feelings of the most acute distress the Rajah gave the order for departure, and the small flotilla fell down the river Samarahan, and arriving at its mouth put out to sea, when a cry arose among the men, “Smoke! smoke! It is a steamer” And sure enough there was a dark column rising in the air from a three-masted vessel. For a moment it was uncertain which course she was steering, but presently they distinguished her flag she was the Sir James Brooke, the Borneo Company’s steamer, standing in for the Muaratabas entrance of the Sarawak river. The crew of the Rajah’s prahu, with shouts, gave way, and the boat was urged along with all the power of their oars, to find the vessel anchored just within the mouth.

“The great God be praised” as the Rajah said. Here, indeed, was a base of operations. The native prahus were taken in tow, and the reinforcements of Dyaks, who were already arriving, followed up with eager speed. What were the feelings of the Chinese when they first saw the smoke, then the steamer, it is not necessary to conjecture. They fired one wild volley from every available gun and musket, but the balls fell harmlessly; and when the English guns opened on them, they fled panic-stricken, pursued by the rejoicing Malays and Dyaks.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1857 – Determination

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The unanimous determination of the assembly was to remain faithful to the Rajah, but they were divided as to the course to be pursued. Patah, however, unfortunately, cut the knot of the difficulty by manning a light war boat with a dozen Malays, and proceeding at once up the river, attacked and captured a Chinese boat, killing five of its crew. In the meantime all the women and children had been removed from the town, and some trading prahus were manned and armed but imperfectly, as the Chinese had taken away the contents of the arsenal, and the chief portion of the crews of the war boats were engaged in conveying the fugitives to Samarahan.

Patah’s bold act was no doubt well meaning, but was decidedly premature, as the Malays, being scattered, could not organise any resistance, and urgent entreaties were made to the Rajah to return and head this movement. He complied, as he could not even appear to abandon those who were fighting so bravely for him; but he knew it was useless, and arrived at Kuching to find the rest of the English flying, the town in the hands of the Chinese, and smoke rising in every direction from the burning Malay houses.

It appears that when the news reached the Chinese that the Malays were preparing to resist their rule, they determined to return immediately to Kuching, and attack them before their preparations could be completed. They divided their forces into two bodies, as they were now recruited by several hundreds of men from other gold workings, and had forced the agriculturists established at Sungei Tungah to join them; in fact, their great boats could not hold half their numbers, so one body marched by a new road which had been opened to the town, while the other came down by the river.

As soon as the Malays saw the Chinese barges rounding the point above the town they boldly dashed at them, forced them to the river banks, drove out the crews, and triumphantly captured ten of the largest cargo boats. The Chinese, better armed, kept up a hot fire from the rising ground, and killed several of the boldest Malays, among others Abang Gapoor, whose disbelief in his kinsman’s story enabled the rebels to surprise the capital, and who to his last breath bewailed his fatal mistake; and one who was equally to be regretted, our faithful old follower, Kassim. The latter lingered long enough to see the Rajah again successful, and he said he died happy in knowing it. Notwithstanding their losses, the Malays towed away the barges, laden, fortunately, with some of the most valuable booty, and secured them to a large trading prahu, anchored in the centre of the river. Having thus captured some superior arms and ammunition they could better reply to the fire of their enemies who lined the banks.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1857 – Taking Oaths

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Everything now appeared to be arranged, when the Bishop remarked that perhaps Mr Charles Johnson might not quite approve of the conduct of the Chinese in killing his uncle and friends. At the mention of Johnson’s name there was a pause. A blankness came over their countenances, and they looked at each other as they now remembered, apparently for the first time, that he, the Rajah’s nephew, was the resolute and popular ruler of the Sakarangs, and could let loose at least ten thousand wild warriors upon them. At last it was suggested, after an animated discussion, that a letter should be sent to him requesting him to confine himself to his own government, and then they would not attempt to interfere with him.

They appeared also to have forgotten that there were Sadong, under Mr Fox, and Rejang, under Mr Steel, who, between them, could bring thousands into the field, and that Seribas also was panting for an opportunity to find fresh enemies. All this never seemed to have occurred to them before undertaking their insensate expedition.

The Chinese were very anxious to have matters settled at Kuching, as, with all their boasts, they were not feeling comfortable. They were not only anxious to secure the plunder they had obtained, but the leaders knew that the Rajah was not killed, and what he might be preparing was uncertain. They therefore called upon the European gentlemen and the Malay chiefs present to swear fidelity to the Gold Company, and under the fear of instant death they were obliged to go through the formula of taking oaths with the sacrifice of fowls.

Next day the rebels retired up-country unmolested by the Malays, and a meeting was at once held at the Datu Bandhar’s house to discuss future proceedings. At first no one spoke. There was a gloom over the assembly, as the mass of the population was deserting the town, carrying off their women and children to the neighbouring district of Samarahan as a place of safety, when Abang Patah, son of the Datu Tumangong, addressed his countrymen. He was a sturdy man, with a pleasant, cheerful countenance, and a warm friend to English rule, and his first words were, “Are we going to submit to be governed by Chinese chiefs, or are we to remain faithful to our Rajah? I am a man of few words, and I say I will never be governed by anyone but by him, and to-night I commence war to the knife against his enemies.”

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1857 – Wild Confusion

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When morning broke in Kuching, there was a scene of the wildest confusion. The six hundred rebels, joined by the Chinese vagabonds of the town, half stupefied by opium, were wandering about in every direction, discharging their muskets loaded with ball cartridges. But at eight o’clock the chiefs of the Gold Company sent a message to the Bishop of Sarawak, requesting him to come down and attend the wounded. He did so, and found thirty-two stretched out, most of them from shot wounds; but among them he noticed a man with a gash across his face from the last blow Mr Crymble had struck at the rebels; and before the Bishop’s arrival they had buried five of their companions.

Poor Mrs Crookshank had lain on the ground all night, desperately wounded, and with extraordinary coolness and courage had shammed death whilst the rebels tore the rings from her fingers, or cut at her head with their swords. Her life was saved by her mass of braided hair. Early in the morning her servant found her still living, and went and informed the Bishop, who had great difficulty in persuading the Kungsi to allow him to send for her. She arrived in the mission house in a dreadful state.

It was soon evident that, in the intoxication of victory, the Chinese aimed now, if not before, at the complete domination of the country, and summoned the Bishop, Mr Helms, agent for the Borneo Company, Mr Ruppell, an English resident, and the Datu Bandhar to appear at the Court House. The Europeans were obliged to attend the summons. The Malay chief also came, but with great reluctance, and contrary to the advice of the Datu Imaun, his more energetic brother; but he thought it expedient to gain time.

The Chinese chiefs, even in their most extravagant moments of exultation, were in great fear that on their return up the river the Malays might attack them in their crowded boats and destroy them, as on the water they felt their inferiority to their maritime enemies.

It must have been an offensive sight to the Europeans and the Malays to witness the arrangements in the Court House on that day of disaster. In the Rajah’s chair sat the chief of the Gold Company, supported on either side by the writers or secretaries, while the representatives of the now apparently subdued sections took their places on the side benches. The Chinese chief then issued his orders, which were that Mr Helms and Mr Ruppell should undertake to rule the foreign portion of the town, and that the Datu Bandhar should manage the Malays, while the Gold Company, as supreme rulers, should superintend the whole and govern exclusively the up-country districts. During this time the Europeans could see the head of Mr Nicoletts carried about on a pole to reassure the Chinese that the dreaded Rajah had really been killed. The Chinese chiefs knew better, but they thought to impose upon their ignorant followers.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1857 – Abang Buyong

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The confusion which reigned throughout the rest of the town may be imagined, as, startled by the shouts and yells of the Chinese, the inhabitants rushed to the doors and windows and beheld night turned into day by the bright flames which rose in three directions where the Rajah’s, Crookshank’s and Middleton’s large houses were all burning at the same time.

It was at first very naturally thought that the Chinese contemplated a massacre of the Europeans, but messengers were soon despatched to them by the Kungsi to say that nothing was further from their intention than to interfere with those who were unconnected with the Government, which refinement of policy shows that the plan had been concocted by more subtle brains than those possessed by the gold workers of Bau.

The Rajah had, as soon as possible, proceeded to the Datu Bandhar’s house, and being quickly joined by his English officers, endeavoured to organise a force with which to surprise the victorious Chinese; but it was impossible. No sooner did he collect a few men than their wives and children surrounded them and refused to be left behind; and being without proper arms and ammunition, it was but a panic-stricken mob. So he instantly took his determination, with that decision which had been the foundation of his success, and, giving up the idea of an immediate attack, advised the removal of the women to the left-hand bank of the river, where they would be safe from a land attack of the Chinese, who could make their way along the right-hand bank of the river by a road which ran at the back of the town.

This removal was accomplished by the morning, when the small party of English under the Rajah walked over to the little river of Siol, which falls into the Santubong branch of the Sarawak river. At the mouth of the Siol the Rajah found the war boat of Abang Buyong, with sixty men, waiting for him, which was soon joined by six others and many canoes, for no sooner did the Malays of the neighbouring villages hear where the Rajah was than they began flocking to him. He now started for the Samarahan, intending to proceed to the Balang Lupar to organise an expedition from the well-supplied forts there. On their way they rested at the little village of Sabang, and to the honour of the Malay character I must add that never during the height of his power and prosperity did he receive so much sympathy, tender attention and delicate generosity as now, when a defeated fugitive. They vied with each other as to who should supply him and his party with clothes and food, since they had lost all; and if to know that he was enshrined in the hearts of the people was any consolation to him in his misfortunes, he then had ample proofs of it. No wonder that in reading these accounts the Daily News, hitherto so hostile to him, should say, “We have sincere pleasure in proclaiming our unreserved admiration of the manner in which he must have exercised his power to have produced such fruits.”.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1857 – The Stockade

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The stockades, however, were not surprised. The Chinese, waiting for the signal which was to be the attack on the houses, were at length perceived by a sentinel, and he immediately roused the Treasurer, Mr Crymble, who resided in the stockade which contained the arsenal and the prison. He endeavoured to make some preparation for defence, although he had but four Malays with him. He had scarcely time, however, to load a six-pounder field-piece, and get his own rifle ready, before the Chinese, with loud shouts, rushed to the assault. They were led by a man who bore in either hand a flaming torch. Mr Crymble waited until they were within forty yards; he then fired and killed the man who, by the lights he bore, made himself conspicuous, and before the crowd recovered from the confusion in which they were thrown by the fall of their leader, discharged among them the six-pounder loaded with grape, which made the assailants retire behind the neighbouring houses or hide in the outer ditches. But with four men little could be done; and some of the rebels, having crossed the inner ditch, began to remove the planks which constituted the sole defence. To add to the garrison’s difficulties, they threw over into the inner court little iron tripods, with flaming torches attached, which rendered it as light as day, whilst they remained shrouded in darkness.

To increase the number of defenders Mr Crymble released the sole occupants of the prison – a fraudulent debtor and a Malay madman who had killed his wife in a fit of fury. The former quickly disappeared, whilst the latter, regardless of the shot flying around, stood to the post assigned him, opposite a plank the Chinese were trying to remove. He had orders to fire as soon as the first assailant appeared, and when the plank gave way and a man attempted to force his body through, he pulled the trigger of his carbine, without lowering the muzzle, and sent the ball through his own brains. Mr Crymble now found it useless to prolong the struggle. One of his four men was killed, and another, a brave Malay corporal, was shot down at his side. The wounded man begged Mr Crymble to fly and leave him to his fate, but asked him to shake hands with him first and tell him whether he had not done his duty. The brave Irishman seized him by the arm and endeavoured to drag him up the stairs leading to the dwelling over the gate; but the Chinese had already gained the courtyard, and pursuing them, drove their spears through the wounded man. Mr Crymble was forced to let go his hold, and with a brave follower, Daud, swung himself down into the ditch below. Some of the rebels outside the fort, seeing their attempted escape, tried to stop the Treasurer, and a man stabbed at him, but the spear only glanced on his thick frieze coat, and the Chinese received in return a cut across the face from the Irishman’s cutlass which was a remembrance to carry to the grave.

The other stockade, though it had but a corporal’s watch of three Malays, did not surrender; but finding that every other place was in the hands of the Chinese, the brave defenders opened the gate, and, charging the crowd of rebels, sword in hand, made good their escape, though all were severely wounded.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner