« PreviousContinue »
AMERICAN MISSIONARIES.—VOYAGE TO TRINGANU. -LOSS OF HIS WIFE.—BIBLE TRANSLATIONS, Etc. "ABOUT this time news arrived in Malacca to the effect that a number of American missionaries had arrived in Singapore, who wished to learn Malay; so I was roused with a desire to return there, being curious to see the appearance of Americans-were they like the English, or like people of black skinned races, for I had never met with them. It is true that I had heard the name of America mentioned by the English, as being an island in far distant seas, where they sent their malefactors to, and through this means the population had increased. This is what I have been told by many Englishmen.
So, in four or five days' time, I sailed for Singapore. And during a walk one day, I went to call on an American missionary named Mr. Terisi (?); and when I saw him, I did not see the slightest difference in his appearance, language, manners, habitation, and clothes, from English. He was at this time stopping in the house of Missionary Thomsen, so I entered into conversation with him. I observed that his manners were soft and his conversation agreeable. He asked me where I came from, and my profession, which I informed him of, from the beginning to the ending. At this he told me that a
friend of his, by name North, was very desirous to find one who knew Malay, as he wished to study it; and as he was saying this, Mr. North entered. I noticed that he was also like an Englishman, without the slightest difference. So I now sat speaking to him. Mrs. Terisi (?) and Mrs. North then entered, both of whom, I saw, were like Englishwomen, of gentle manners and sweet expressions. Their conversation was in like manner, which made me pause and reflect on what I had been told to the contrary, by people above-mentioned. So, when it was settled, I commenced to teach Mr. North and his wife, as well as Mrs. Terisi (?)-this daily at their appointed hours.
Then on a certain day I was sitting talking to Mrs. Terisi (?), when I asked her about the origin of the country of America,-how it became so populous, and such like. So she told me that it was true that her ancestors were English, and of these there were four men good and God-serving, who were oppressed in England on the subject of religion; so they left it and searched for another place to live, which they found in America, which at that time was under high forest. There were also inhabitants, but these were like the Jakuns (wild men of the Malay Peninsula), and very fierce. After they
had settled, they erected houses, villages, and plantations; after them others followed, till the place had become a country. The people of England then came to know this, when many of them emigrated, so that the country became populous. After this a war took place between America and England, as the Americans would not obey their orders, as they wished to put heavy duties and customs on them. This the Americans would not comply with, nor would they be dependent on their government. On this account a great war arose, till America was nearly overcome, but which was averted by
the strenuous exertions of a great American, called Washington,-through him America was not overpowered. On his account the Americans have a feast-day to the present time; this is on his birthday, yearly. Since then there has been no war. When I heard these affairs related, it appeared to me that her nation had suffered obloquy, so I now questioned what had previously been told me regarding convicts having been sent there; indeed, I pondered over the circumstances, when I came to the conclusion that it must of necessity have been the choice and the excellent of England who went forth to found America, and the reason of my saying this was, that if evil seed had been sown it would be impossible that good trees could have sprung from it. As the Malay proverb says, 'Does a tainted well produce clear water?' and, moreover, if its water is impure at first, so it will be afterwards; the moral of which is, that if the people who founded America were bad, their descendants would be bad also.
So I remained teaching this gentleman and his wife; and after this came others whom I also taught. Further, there arrived a Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, whom I also taught. All these gentlemen and ladies (mim) I taught at the direction of Mr. North. Then came a Mr. Terbili (?), whom I taught till he could speak Malay, read books, and translate a little from English into Malay. Yet all these, it must be stated, learnt the language superficially; but Mr. North studied it deeply, always striving to master the proper idiom, its phonology, its proverbs, examples, reasonings, and arguments, as used by the Malays themselves. He also collected the books, histories, poems, and pantuns of the language. Owing to this circumstance, in my estimation he mightily excelled all the others; and another reason also may be stated that most of them after learning a little sailed for other countries,
ring to my
Malays the cories, p
but Mr. North from the first has remained till now. He has composed a great deal in Malay on the sciences of Europe, stories of distinguished people, the activity of Europeans, and their influence over the world; also regarding the description of the firmament and its creation, the invention of steamships and railways, the making of gas, the river navigation of America, the uses of steam, the mode of whale fisheries, scientific discourses, and inventions of Europe, with teachings how the Malays may follow and master such like acquisitions.
I was thus in the employ of Messrs. North and Terbili for some years, going and returning to Malacca, when one year I went to Pahang Tringanu and Kalantan, being in charge of a letter from Mr. Bonham to the Raja of Kalatan, when two sketches were sent with me, one belonging to Mr. Scott, called 'Maggy Lauder,' the other to Mr. Boustead, called Waterwitch,'-but I need not dilate on this, but if any one wants to know the account of my trip, I have written it, from the date I left Singapore till I returned in safety, and which has been made a book of by Mr. North, one page being in Jawi characters, the other in English, but in the Malay language, and which I named Kaseh Pelayeran Abdulla. And whoever wishes to see the book, it is with Mr. North, who sells it at a fair price; and if you, O reader, peruse the work, you will of course understand the manners and doings of Malay rajas, and their people's condition, into which subject I have fully entered.
After I had returned from Pahang Tringanu and Kalantan, I went to Malacca, as I heard that my wife and children were in a great state of consternation. For they had heard various rumours; some people telling them that I had been taken off by pirates, others that I had been killed in the wars at Kalantan, and such
stuff and nonsense. Thus all were sitting in grief. At length, when I came to them, various Klings, relations, and friends assembled to hear the news, when I read them my account of the voyage, at which they were much astonished when they heard of the customs, manners, and laws of the Malay rajas.
I remained a short time in Malacca and then returned to Singapore, when I learnt that Mr. North had removed to Campong Boyan, where I continued to teach and to write. In that house he and I revised the Gospel of St. John, for in the former translation there were many improper Malay phrases and many errors, so we revised it entirely. We also set to to print copies of the Sigara Malayan, besides other duties, and while thus engaged I fell sick of remittent fever; in it I got weaker daily, and my body became emaciated. I was, further, in a great state of grief, as, being in a strange land, there was no one to attend to my food and drink, or medicine. Thus I felt more sore at heart. My disease now increased so much that I could not bear the smell of food, nor could I sleep. My thoughts were, that should I die, let it be in the presence of my wife and children. At this crisis Mr. North came with medicine, which he ordered me to take; but I told him that I could not get well again in my present situation, as I had no one to look after me, so I hoped he would allow me to return to Malacca, and, if it be God's grace that I should get well, I would return quickly to him. When I said this he replied,' How are you to return, as I have a great deal for you to do, which will be put off?' I then said, 'Of what use am I here, in sickness? Let me go, that I may be doctored comfortably.' To this he replied,
Very good, as it is your wish.'
So on that very day I went on board a prow for Malacca in my fever, and as I was three days at sea, exposed to