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Sejarah Sumatra (Marsden)/Bab 11

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Considered as a people occupying a certain rank in the scale or civil society, it is not easy to determine the proper situation of the inhabitants of this island. Though far distant from that point to which the polished states of Europe have aspired, they yet look down, with an interval almost as great, on the savage tribes of Africa and America. Perhaps if we distinguish mankind summarily into five classes; but of which each would admit of numberless subdivisions; we might assign a third place to the more civilized Sumatrans, and a fourth to the remainder. In the first class I should of course include some of the republics of ancient Greece, in the days of their splendour; the Romans, for some time before and after the Augustan age; France, England, and other refined nations of Europe, in the latter centuries; and perhaps China. The second might comprehend the great Asiatic empires at the period of their prosperity; Persia, the Mogul, the Turkish, with some European kingdoms. In the third class, along with the Sumatrans and a few other states of the eastern archipelago, I should rank the nations on the northern coast of Africa, and the more polished Arabs. The fourth class, with the less civilized Sumatrans, will take in the people of the new discovered islands in the South Sea; perhaps the celebrated Mexican and Peruvian empires; the Tartar hordes, and all those societies of people in various parts of the globe, who, possessing personal property, and acknowledging some species of established subordination, rise one step above the Caribs, the New Hollanders, the Laplanders, and the Hottentots, who exhibit a picture of mankind in its rudest and most humiliating aspect.



As mankind are by nature so prone to imitation it may seem surprising that these people have not derived a greater share of improvement in manners an arts from their long connection with Europeans, particularly with the English, who have now been settled among them for a hundred years. Though strongly attached to their own habits they are nevertheless sensible of their inferiority, and readily admit the preference to which our attainments in science, and especially in mechanics, entitle us. I have heard a man exclaim, after contemplating the structure and uses of a house-clock, "Is it not fitting that such as we should be slaves to people who have the ingenuity to invent, and the skill to construct, so wonderful a machine as this?" "The sun," he added, "is a machine of this nature." "But who winds it up?" said his companion. "Who but Allah," he replied. This admiration of our superior attainments is however not universal; for, upon an occasion similar to the above, a Sumatran observed, with a sneer, "How clever these people are in the art of getting money."

Some probable causes of this backwardness may be suggested. We carry on few or no species of manufacture at our settlements; everything is imported ready wrought to its highest perfection; and the natives therefore have no opportunity of examining the first process, or the progress of the work. Abundantly supplied with every article of convenience from Europe, and prejudiced in their favour because from thence, we make but little use of the raw materials Sumatra affords. We do not spin its cotton; we do not rear its silkworms; we do not smelt its metals; we do not even hew its stone: neglecting these, it is in vain we exhibit to the people, for their improvement in the arts, our rich brocades, our timepieces, or display to them in drawings the elegance of our architecture. Our manners likewise are little calculated to excite their approval and imitation. Not to insist on the licentiousness that has at times been imputed to our communities; the pleasures of the table; emulation in wine; boisterous mirth; juvenile frolics, and puerile amusements, which do not pass without serious, perhaps contemptuous, animadversion--setting these aside it appears to me that even our best models are but ill adapted for the imitation of a rude, incurious, and unambitious people. Their senses, not their reason, should be acted on, to rouse them from their lethargy; their imaginations must be warmed; a spirit of enthusiasm must pervade and animate them before they will exchange the pleasures of indolence for those of industry. The philosophical influence that prevails and characterizes the present age in the western world is unfavourable to the producing these effects. A modern man of sense and manners despises, or endeavours to despise, ceremony, parade, attendance, superfluous and splendid ornaments in his dress or furniture: preferring ease and convenience to cumbrous pomp, the person first in rank is no longer distinguished by his apparel, his equipage, or his number of servants, from those inferior to him; and though possessing real power is divested of almost every external mark of it. Even our religious worship partakes of the same simplicity. It is far from my intention to condemn or depreciate these manners, considered in a general scale of estimation. Probably, in proportion as the prejudices of sense are dissipated by the light of reason, we advance towards the highest degree of perfection our natures are capable of; possibly perfection may consist in a certain medium which we have already stepped beyond; but certainly all this refinement is utterly incomprehensible to an uncivilized mind which cannot discriminate the ideas of humility and meanness. We appear to the Sumatrans to have degenerated from the more splendid virtues of our predecessors. Even the richness of their laced suits and the gravity of their perukes attracted a degree of admiration; and I have heard the disuse of the large hoops worn by the ladies pathetically lamented. The quick, and to them inexplicable, revolutions of our fashions, are subject of much astonishment, and they naturally conclude that those modes can have but little intrinsic merit which we are so ready to change; or at least that our caprice renders us very incompetent to be the guides of their improvement. Indeed in matters of this kind it is not to be supposed that an imitation should take place, owing to the total incongruity of manners in other respects, and the dissimilarity of natural and local circumstances. But perhaps I am superfluously investigating minute and partial causes of an effect which one general one may be thought sufficient to produce. Under the frigid, and more especially the torrid zone, the inhabitants will naturally preserve an uninterrupted similarity and consistency of manners, from the uniform influence of their climate. In the temperate zones, where this influence is equivocal, the manners will be fluctuating, and dependent rather on moral than physical causes.



The Malays and the other native Sumatrans differ more in the features of their mind than in those of their person. Although we know not that this island, in the revolutions of human grandeur, ever made a distinguished figure in the history of the world (for the Achinese, though powerful in the sixteenth century, were very low in point of civilization) yet the Malay inhabitants have an appearance of degeneracy, and this renders their character totally different from that which we conceive of a savage, however justly their ferocious spirit of plunder on the eastern coast may have drawn upon them that name. They seem rather to be sinking into obscurity, though with opportunities of improvement, than emerging from thence to a state of civil or political importance. They retain a strong share of pride, but not of that laudable kind which restrains men from the commission of mean and fraudulent actions. They possess much low cunning and plausible duplicity, and know how to dissemble the strongest passions and most inveterate antipathy beneath the utmost composure of features till the opportunity of gratifying their resentment offers. Veracity, gratitude, and integrity are not to be found in the list of their virtues, and their minds are almost strangers to the sentiments of honour and infamy. They are jealous and vindictive. Their courage is desultory, the effect of a momentary enthusiasm which enables them to perform deeds of incredible desperation; but they are strangers to that steady magnanimity, that cool heroic resolution in battle, which constitutes in our idea the perfection of this quality, and renders it a virtue.* Yet it must be observed that, from an apathy almost paradoxical, they suffer under sentence of death, in cases where no indignant passions could operate to buoy up the mind to a contempt of punishment, with astonishing composure and indifference; uttering little more on these occasions than a proverbial saying, common among them, expressive of the inevitability of fate--apa buli buat? To this stoicism, their belief in predestination, and very imperfect ideas of a future, eternal existence, doubtless contribute.

(*Footnote. In the history of the Portuguese wars in this part of the East there appear some exceptions to this remark, and particularly in the character of Laksamanna (his title of commander-in-chief being mistaken for his proper name), who was truly a great man and most consummate warrior.)

Some writer has remarked that a resemblance is usually found between the disposition and qualities of the beasts proper to any country and those of the indigenous inhabitants of the human species, where an intercourse with foreigners has not destroyed the genuineness of their character. The Malay may thus be compared to the buffalo and the tiger. In his domestic state he is indolent, stubborn, and voluptuous as the former, and in his adventurous life he is insidious, bloodthirsty, and rapacious as the latter. Thus also the Arab is said to resemble his camel, and the placid Hindu his cow.



Orang Sumatra dari daerah pedalaman, meskipun ia memegang bagian dalam beberapa tingkat dari wali Melayu, dan sebagian dari pengaruh contoh, memegang banyak nilai eksklusif; namun mereka sebetulnya lebih bersifat negatif ketimbang positif. Ia bersifat rendah hati, damai dan menonjol, tanpa kemurkaan yang ditimbulkan oleh provokasi kekerasan, ketika ia ditempatkan dalam pengiriman ulangnya. Ia bersifat sederhana dan tenang, setara dalam penyajian daging dan minuman. Jenis makanan penduduk asli kebanyakan adalah sayur; air hanya sebagai minuman mereka; dan meskipun mereka akan menjagal unggas atau kambing bagi orang asing, yang mungkin tak pernah mereka lihat sebelumnya, maupun pernah ingin untuk melihat lagi, mereka jarang mendakwa tindakan tersebut untuk diri mereka sendiri, bahkan maupun pada perayaan mereka (bimbang), di saat sejumlah daging, yang banyak mereka santap selain nasi. Kesantunan mereka bersifat ekstrim, dan terikat oleh kemampuan mereka sendiri. Perilaku mereka sederhana; mereka umumnya, kecuali di kalangan pemimpin, terhindar dari kelicikan dan ketidakjujuran Melayu; sehingga diiringi dengan kecepatan penangkapan, dan pada banyak kejadian menemukan tingkat penetrasi dan kecerdikan menonjol. Dalam kaitannya dengan wanita, mereka sangat menghromati, tanpa sikap insensibilitas. Mereka sangat sederhana; terutama dipandu dengan ekspresi mereka; menghormati perilaku mereka; bersungguh-sungguh dalam kepergian mereka, baik sendiri atau tak pernah tak pernah tertawa; dan sabar pada tingkat besar. Di sisi lain, mereka gemar berperkara; malas; gemar bermain; tak jujur dalam kesepakatan mereka dengan orang asing, yang mereka anggap tak melanggar moral; memata-matai; tak memiliki rasa percaya; memperalat transaksi mereka; seperti budak; meskipun bersih dalam hal perorangan, pakaian mereka kotor, yang tak pernah mereka cuci. Mereka bersikap tak peduli dan mengabaikan masa depan, karena keinginan mereka sedikit, meskipun berkekurangan, mereka tak memiliki kebutuhan; mengambil hasil alam, dengan fasilitas luar biasa, apa yang ia dapatkan sesuai untuk keberadaan mereka. Ilmu dan seni rupa tidak ada, dengan memperluas pandangan mereka, berkontribusi pada pelebaran lingkar keinginan mereka, dan berbagai penyempurnaan kemewahan, yang dalam masyarakat yang dipoles menjadi kebutuhan hidup, secara bulat tidak diketahui oleh mereka. Orang-orang Makassar dan Bugis, yang dayang setiap tahun ke daerah mereka dari Sulawesi untuk berdagang ke Sumatra, dipandang oleh para penduduk tersebut sebagai petinggi mereka. Orang-orang Melayu terpikat untuk meniru gaya busana mereka, dan sering berangan-angan untuk bekerja sama dan mengabdi kepada orang-orang tersebut dalam lagu-lagu mereka. Reputasi mereka untuk keberanian, yang terkadang mengejutkan seluruh suku lain di laut timur, membuat mereka dicap atas sifat datar tersebut. Mereka juga memberikan sikap hormat mereka dari kekayaan kargo yang diimpor oleh kami, dan jiwa yang dijalankan oleh mereka dihasilkan dalam judi, sabung ayam dan menghisap candu.



Having endeavoured to trace the character of these people with as much fidelity and accuracy as possible, I shall now proceed to give an account of their government, laws, customs, and manners; and, in order to convey to the reader the clearest ideas in my power, I shall develop the various circumstances in such order and connection as shall appear best to answer this intent, without confining myself, in every instance, to a rigid and scrupulous arrangement under distinct heads.



Orang-orang Rejang, yang, untuk alasan-alasan sebelum ditugaskan, aku memiliki kepastian terhadap standar deskripsi, namun umumnya diterapkan kepada orang ulu, atau para penduduk daerah pedalaman, yang terbagi dalam suku-suku, para keturunan dari leluhur berbeda. Dari hal itu, terdapat empat hal utama, yang dikatakan menurunkan cikal bakal mereka dari empat bersaudara, dan disatukan dari suatu waktu dalam sebuah kelompok ofensif dan defensif; meskipun diyakini bahwa ikatan persatuan yang permanen tersebut lebih dikaitkan kepada peristiwa yang diakibatkan dari keadaan mereka ketimbang kesepakatan atau kekompakan formal manapun.



The inhabitants live in villages, called dusun, each under the government of a headman or magistrate, styled dupati, whose dependants are termed his ana-buah, and in number seldom exceed one hundred. The dupatis belonging to each river (for here, the villages being almost always situated by the waterside, the names we are used to apply to countries or districts are properly those of the rivers) meet in a judicial capacity at the kwalo, where the European factory is established, and are then distinguished by the name of proattin.



Pangeran (sebuah gelar Jawa), atau pemimpin feodal daerah, memimpin secara keseluruhan. Bukanlah masalah yang mudah untuk menyebut apa yang menjadi kedudukan dupati untuk pangerannya, atau ana-buah untuk dirinya sendiri, terlalu sangat sedikit kasus yang praktis teramati. Nyaris tanpa seni, dan dengan namun industri yang sedikit, keadaan properti nyaris setara di kalangan seluruh penduduk, dan para pemimpinnya sangat berbeda namun dengan gelar dari orang banyak.



Their authority is no more than nominal, being without that coercive power necessary to make themselves feared and implicitly obeyed. This is the natural result of poverty among nations habituated to peace; where the two great political engines of interest and military force are wanting. Their government is founded in opinion, and the submission of the people is voluntary. The domestic rule of a private family beyond a doubt suggested first the idea of government in society, and, this people having made but small advances in civil policy, theirs continues to retain a strong resemblance of its original. It is connected also with the principle of the feudal system, into which it would probably settle should it attain to a greater degree of refinement. All the other governments throughout the island are likewise a mixture of the patriarchal and feudal; and it may be observed that, where a spirit of conquest has reduced the inhabitants under the subjection of another power, or has added foreign districts to their dominion, there the feudal maxims prevail: where the natives, from situation or disposition, have long remained undisturbed by revolutions, there the simplicity of patriarchal rule obtains; which is not only the first and natural form of government of all rude nations rising from imperceptible beginnings, but is perhaps also the highest state of perfection at which they can ultimately arrive. It is not in this art alone that we perceive the next step from consummate refinement, leading to simplicity.



The foundation of right to government among these people seems, as I said, to be the general consent. If a chief exerts an undue authority, or departs from their long established customs and usages, they conceive themselves at liberty to relinquish their allegiance. A commanding aspect, an insinuating manner, a ready fluency in discourse, and a penetration and sagacity in unravelling the little intricacies of their disputes, are qualities which seldom fail to procure to their possessor respect and influence, sometimes perhaps superior to that of an acknowledged chief. The pangean indeed claims despotic sway, and as far as he can find the means scruples not to exert it; but, his revenues being insufficient to enable him to keep up any force for carrying his mandates into execution, his actual powers are very limited, and he has seldom found himself able to punish a turbulent subject any otherwise than by private assassination. In appointing the heads of dusuns he does little more than confirm the choice already made among the inhabitants, and, were he arbitrarily to name a person of a different tribe or from another place, he would not be obeyed. He levies no tax, nor has any revenue (what he derives from the India Company being out of the question), or other emolument from his subjects than what accrues to him from the determination of causes. Appeals lie to him in all cases, and none of the inferior courts or assemblies of proattins are competent to pronounce sentence of death. But, all punishments being by the laws of the country commutable for fines, and the appeals being attended with expense and loss of time, the parties generally abide by the first decision. Those dusuns which are situated nearest to the residence of the pangeran, at Sungey-lamo, acknowledge somewhat more of subordination than the distant ones, which even in case of war esteem themselves at liberty to assist or not, as they think proper, without being liable to consequences. In answer to a question on this point, "we are his subjects, not his slaves," replied one of the proattins. But from the pangeran you hear a tale widely different. He has been known to say, in a political conversation, "such and such dusuns there will be no trouble with; they are my powder and shot;" explaining himself by adding that he could dispose of the inhabitants, as his ancestors had done, to purchase ammunition in time of war.



Ayah Pangeran Mangko Raja (yang namanya diambil dari keadaan ketika ia mengambil bagian dalam pengusiran Inggris dari Benteng Marlborough pada tahun 1719) merupakan orang pertama yang menyandang gelar pangeran Sungey-lamo. Sebelumnya, ia digelari Baginda Sabyam. Sampai usia sekitar seratus tahun, pantai selatan Sumatra sejauh Sungai Urei bergantung pada raja Bantam, yang mendatangkan Jennang (letnan atau deputi) setiap tahun kepada Silebar atau Bencoolen, mengumpulkan lada dan mengisi kelowongan lewat penominasian, atau lebih kepada mengkonfirmasikan pelantikan mereka, para petinggi. Tak lama usai masa itu, Inggris mendirikan sebuah pemukiman di Bencoolen, jennang memberitahukan para pemimpin bahwa ia harus tak lebih dari mengunjungi mereka, dan, mengangkat dua pemimpin Sungey-lamo dan Sungey-itam (pemimpin Sungey-itam merupakan pemimpin daerah Lemba di kawasan Sungai Bencoolen; sementara pemimpin Sungey-lamo mengatur beberapa desa, dan merupakan kepala suku Rejang), demi martabat pangeran, menyerahkan pemerintahan ke tangan mereka di wilayah tersebut, dan menarik klaim petingginya. Catatan semacam ini diberikan oleh para pemegang cikal bakal gelar mereka saat ini, yang nyaris berkaitan dengan transaksi tercatat pada masa itu. Ini secara alami menyusul pemimpin harus menyerahkan klaim otoritas mutlak raya yang diwakili olehnya, dan di sisi lain bahwa para pemimpin harus tetapmenganggapnya selain sebagai salah satu dari mereka sendiri, dan membayarnya lebih kecil ketimbang upeti biasa. Ia tak memiliki kekuatan untuk menegakkan permohonannya, dan mereka memegang hak-hak mereka, tanpa mengambil sumpah kesetiaan, maupun menjalin ikatan melalui jalinan positif. Namun, mereka berkata kepadanya dengan hormat, dan dalam pernyataan menengah manapun yang tak berdampak pada adat atau kebiasaan mereka, mereka siap mambantunya (tolong, seperti yang mereka ekspresikan kepadanya), namun lebih kepada persoalan yang disukai ketimbang menjalankan kewajiban.

Pengecualian dari penanganan mutlak, yang ditujukan kepada para dupati, mereka diijinkan untuk menurunkan ana-buah mereka, yang memerintah mereka hanya pada pengaruh wacana. Penghormatan ditujukan kepada salah satu dari mereka lebih kecil ketimbang kepada tetua keluarga yang dihargai, dan pria tua dusun berbagi dengannya, duduk di sisinya dalam pengadilan dengan sedikit perbedaan yang timbul di antara mereka sendiri. Jika mereka tak dapat menentukan keputusan, atau bersengketa dengan salah satu desa terpisah, para pemimpin tetangga dari suku yang sama bertemu untuk keperluan tersebut. Dari litigasi yang timbul, beberapa penghormatan kecil kepada dupati, yang memberikan penghormatan kepada pihak lain lebih memberatkan ketimbang suatu kemajuan. Dalam pendirian pekerjaan-pekerjaan umum, seperti ballei atau balai kota, ia mengkontribusikan sebagian besar material. Ia menerima dan menghibur seluruh orang asing, para bawahannya memberikan pernyataan tujuan mereka pada kesempatan tertentu; dan pemberian mereka seperti halnya makanan dan penginapan tak pernah ditolak oleh orang-orang yang meminta kepada mereka.



Meskipun pangkat dupati tidaklah selalu pewarisan putra, ketika berumur dan mampu, umumnya melanjutkan almarhum ayahnya: jika terlalu muda, saudara ayahnya, atau salah satu anggota keluarga semacamnya nampaknya paling dikualifikasikan untuk memegang jabatan tersebut, bukan sebagai wali raja namun dalam haknya sendiri; dan anggota yang lebih kecil mungkin berada pada kelowongan berikutnya. Jika penempatan tersebut tak menyenangkan bagi sebagian penduduk, mereka menentukan salah satu dari mereka sendiri soal siapa pemimpin yang akan mereka ikuti, dan pergi dari desanya, atau pada beberapa keluarga, memisahkan diri mereka sendiri dari anggota keluarga yang lain, memilih pemimpin, namun saat dinominasikan, tak menyandang gelar dupati sampai dikonfirmasikan oleh pangeran, atau oleh Residen Perushaaan. Pada setiap sungai, terdapat setidaknya satu pemimpin paripurna, yang disebut pambarab, yang dipilih oleh pemimpin lainnya dan memiliki hak atau tigas memimpin penyeragaman dan upacara ketika dua desa atau lebih bersinggungan, dengan pemberian upeti yang lebih besar, dan (seperti para pahlawan menonjol oleh Homer) juga memiliki tujuan-tujuan. Jika lebih dari satu suku bermukim di sungai yang sama, masing-masing biasanya memiliki pambarab-nya. Tak hanya sungai atau daerah namun setiap dusun bersifat independen dari, meskipun tak saling terhubung dengan, tetangga-tetangganya, yang bertindak selaras dengan mereka dengan perhatian khusus.



Sistem pemerintahan di kalangan rakyat dekat pesisir laut, yang, sampai ujung selatan pulau tersebut, adalah para penanam lada, yang banyak dipengaruhi oleh kekuatan Eropa, yang terlihat pada para pemimpin paripurna, dan melirik fakta dari banyaknya fungsi kedaulatan. Kemajuan yang diambil pada subyek tersebut, baik dalam esensi politik dan sipil, lebih besar ketimbang orang-orang dari kejauhan biasanya cenderung dugaan. Tekanan-tekanan terhadap terjadi di kalangan individual, namun, untuk menghormati jasa Perusahaan yang aku tambahkan, mereka sangat langka dan gampang terguncang. Dimana tingkat kekuatan dipegang satu orang menyalahgunakan kehendak, dalam hal-hal tertentu, timbul dalam beberapa contoh; kasus-kasus yang terjadi dalam ranah pribadi Residen akan diinterferensi dengan tugas publiknya; namun pintu terbuka untuk pemulihan, dan contoh-contohnya telah ada. Untuk menghancurkan pengaruh dan otoritas tersebut dalam rangka mencegah dampak-dampak untuk memotong lengan dalam rangka menghilangkan bagian yang dikeluhkan. Melalui kekuatan Perushaaan, distrik-distrik yang dikuasainya menikmati perdamaian tak terganggu. Tidak adanya kekuatan ini di setiap dusun dari setiap sungai akan menimbulkan perang dengan tetangganya. Para penduduk asli sendiri membolehkannya, dan ketika terjadi, bahkan dalam waktu singkat di saat Inggris meninggalkan pesisir, dalam perang Inggris dengan Prancis. Pertikaian daerah melawan daerah, sangat sering di kalangan independen di wilayah utama. Dalam wilayah yurisdiksi Perusahaan, hal-hal tersebut tak terdengar. Musibah-musibah yang tak diinginkan tersebut terjadi di seluruh kepulauan Melayu yang berhadapan dengan masalah pribadi namun sangat jarang terjadi. "Aku berkata kepadamu sejujurnya," kata seorang dupati, yang banyak bergesekan terhadap salah satu tetangganya, "bahwa hanya kamu," menekankan kepada Residen Laye, "yang menghindari pembidikan senjata ini ke dadaku." Residen juga dianggap sebagai pelindung rakyat dari ketidakadilan dan penindasan para pemimpin. Meskipun tak terjadi secara terbuka pada wilayah kekuasaan mereka yang tak mendukung, penindasan ini kurang mengena pada penyintasnya. Para penegak hukum, dan sangat mendasarkan pada keutamaan ini, mereka menunggu untuk memajukan kebutuhan dan penghirauan, sampai mereka melucuti harta benda, keluarga dan kebebasan pribadi mereka. Untuk menghindari praktek-praktek pemerintahan kehakiman parsial akibat suap, pengawasan saksi, dan seperti penyelidikan, sebuah kepastian berkelanjutan dari perhatian dan otoritas Residen diwajibkan, dan, ketika otoritas tersebut secara tak sengaja dilonggarkan, daerah tersebut jatuh dalam ketidaksesuaian.

It is true that this interference is not strictly consonant with the spirit of the original contracts entered into by the Company with the native chiefs, who, in consideration of protection from their enemies, regular purchase of the produce of their country, and a gratuity to themselves proportioned to the quantity of that produce, undertake on their part to oblige their dependants to plant pepper, to refrain from the use of opium, the practice of gaming, and other vicious excesses, and to punish them in case of non-compliance. But, however prudent or equal these contracts might have been at the time their form was established, a change of circumstances, the gradual and necessary increase of the Company's sway which the peace and good of the country required, and the tacit consent of the chiefs themselves (among whom the oldest living have never been used to regard the Company, who have conferred on them their respective dignities, as their equals, or as trading in their districts upon sufferance), have long antiquated them; and custom and experience have introduced in their room an influence on one side, and a subordination on the other, more consistent with the power of the Company and more suitable to the benefits derived from the moderate and humane exercise of that power. Prescription has given its sanction to this change, and the people have submitted to it without murmuring, as it was introduced not suddenly but with the natural course of events, and bettered the condition of the whole while it tended to curb the rapacity of the few. Then let not short-sighted or designing persons, upon false principles of justice, or ill-digested notions of liberty, rashly endeavour to overturn a scheme of government, doubtless not perfect, but which seems best adapted to the circumstances it has respect to, and attended with the fewest disadvantages. Let them not vainly exert themselves to procure redress of imaginary grievances, for persons who complain not, or to infuse a spirit of freedom and independence, in a climate where nature possibly never intended they should flourish, and which, if obtained, would apparently be attended with effects that all their advantages would badly compensate.



Di Passummah, yang nyaris berbatasan dengan Rejang, di kawasan selatan, nampak ada beberapa perbedaan dalam gaya pemerintahan, meskipun jiwanya sama antar keduanya; para pemimpinnya setara tanpa kekuasaan tumpang tindih yang biasa, dan masyarakatnya secara setara bebas memilih siapa yang akan mereka layani. Ini merupakan sebuah daerah berpenduduk terkaya dan mendasar, terikat pada bagian utara oleh Lamattang, dan pada bagian tenggara oleh Lampong, sungai Padang-guchi menandai pembagian dari yang akhir, dekat pesisir laut. Ini berbeda dengan Passummah lebbar, atau besar, yang terbentang di daerah pedalaman, yang menghabiskan perjalanan sehari ke Muaro Mulang, di Sungai Palembang; dan Passummah ulu Manna, yang berada pada sisi barat perbukitan, penduduknya yang berkulit lebih putih dikatakan lebih terpencil dalam rangka menghindari pemerintahan Palembang.

Daerah tersebut diatur oleh empat pangeran, yang bersifat independen satu sama lain namun mengakui jenis kedaulatan pada sultan Palembang, dari mereka yang memegang chap (jaminan) dan menerima sebuah salin (penjamin) pada kenaikan takhta mereka. Pembawahannya adalah akibat dari pengaruh lama raja Bantam atas belahan pulau tersebut, Palembang menjadi pelabuhan yang dulunya bergantung padanya, dan kini pada Belanda, yang instrumennya adalah sultan. Terdapat pangeran yang berpangkat lebih rendah di nyaris setiap dusun (yang gelarnya nyaris seumum di Passummah seperti halnya dupati pada wilayah pesisir) yang dipilih oleh para penduduk, dan dikonfirmasikan oleh pangeran yang berpangkat lebih tinggi, yang membentuk mereka dalam menyelesaikan masalah-masalah. Di daerah hilir, di tempat para penanam lada bermukim, gelar kalippah dipakai; yang merupakan kekeliruan dari kata khalifah dalam bahasa Arab, yang artinya wakil pemimpin. Setiap pangeran memimpin berbagai suku, yang dikumpulkan pada waktu berbeda (beberapa diantaranya adalah kolonis dari Rejang, serta dari daerah timur mereka, yang bernama Haji) dan menaungkan diri mereka sendiri, beberapa di bawah satu dan beberapa di bawah pemimpin lainnya; juga pemimpin paripurna mereka, atau pambarab, seperti halnya daerah-daerah utara. Di sungai-sungai Peeno, Manna, dan Bankannon masing-masing merupakan dua kalippah, beberapa diantaranya juga merupakan pangeran, yang terakhir kalinya nampak disini alih-alih gelar kehormatan, atau kekhasan keluarga, ketimbang kepemimpinan. Mereka bersifat independen satu sama lain, tak memiliki petinggi; dan jumlah mereka, menurut pemikiran rakyat, tak dapat meningkat.