«Its Causes, Course and Consequences A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in History in the ...»
to be found, and it was hoped that an attack here would cause a diversion and prevent the rebels from using their combined might at Saparua • This seems rather strange, since Saparua was in the hands of the rebels and at that time the government forces were not launching an attack on that town.
It is, however, certain that an attack on Hatawano had been planned.
Fire was opened with the ships' guns but little
damage was done since the projectiles went right through the bamboo houses, merely tearing a hole in the woven bamboo walls. It was decided that this was a waste of powder and shot. Only sporadic rounds were fired after that, just enough to keep the rebels apprehensive. The rebels remained defiant and calls ca..-ne from the beach to I:Come on Hollanders and Ambonese burgers, come ashore to take what we have for you and bring your Captain to take the place of Major Beetjes u62.
The Commander of the flotilla now attempted negotiations. The white flag was hoisted on all ships and a barge
beach, tied to a white flag. Free conduct was offered to a delegation of the villages. That night the ships were hailed from the shore and an extension of time was requested; the letter could not be answered until Monday as the Proclamation would be read from the pUlpit in all churches on the Sunday.
flag was left on the beach. It contained a request for the captain to come ashore as the villagers had no boats to come to the ships. Lieutenant Ellinghuizen together with Lieutenant Christiaansen, who was a retired pilot and spoke Malay fluentlYr went ashore. A table and some chairs were placed on the beach and the negotiations started. The village
Heads gave them the following list of grievances:
replied that they wanted two preachers from Batavia for their religious services.
This agreed to, it was decided that the white flags would be kept flying until their grievances had been brought to the notice of the Governor.
Later that morning a request came from the five negories to send Christiaansen to Saparua to negotiate with Matulesia. Christiaansen was willing to go and departed that afternoon for the west coast of the island, travelling overland to Saparua. From there a letter arrived, signed by the rebels and Christiaansen, saying that the people were strongly inclined to make peace and that the next day an
impatient, wrote a number of letters to the Commandant who was stalling for time, but, at the rebels' renewed request, he sent Ensign Feldman to Saparua to negotiate with the leaders of the revolt.
On the 18th, realising that he could stall no more, the Commander sent a letter to the rebels indicating that he would come ashore to negotiate and that he would expect Lt. Christiaansen and Ensign Feldman to be there.
met by an estimated six hundred armed rebels, led by Matulesia. At Matulesia's command they all aimed their weapons at Feldman while he was being interrogated by him.
Several times Matulesia jumped up and ran his sword across Feldman's neck, asking him if he should kill him. He then had Feldman tied to the tail of his (Matulesia's) horse and rode to his mother's house, about one hour's distance from Saparua. The old women looked at Feldman pityingly but did not speak. When asked about his parents, Feldman mentioned that his father was a Minister of the Church and then his treatment improved. The rebels told him that they would like his father to come to Saparua as their Resident and he
Hatawano after promising Matulesia to pass his requests on to the Commander to send him a black silken waistcoat and some gunpowder • Feldman came back on board the "Reygersbergen" in the morning of the 19th, but Christiaansen, who according to Feldman had had a very bad time of it, was not allowed to 65 Ver Huell Vol. I pp. 181-188.
return to the ship by the villagers and was kept on the beach.
ashore to negotiate. Seeing that he knew what had happened to his envoys, Groot's conduct seems strange. Perhaps i t was a case of not wanting to leave Christiaansen to his, perhaps he genuinely thought that this latest display of dare-devilry would achieve results.
The village-heads were dressed in their best black frock coats and received the delegation with all signs of respect. When asked by Groot why they waged war against the government they replied it was because of religion.
Seeing armed men converge on the meeting place and observing that several Regents tried to leave the conference surreptitiously, the Commander gave orders to return to the ship at once. They just made the barge before the armed mob reached them • At that moment Matulesia appeared. By his orders the rebels were to attack the Dutch party the moment he appeared and to deliver them to him dead or alive. Only the British Captain Crozier, who was acting as interpreter, had to be spared since the British were seen as allies.
to the negory houses including the house of the local Raja and the church; the prahus and larger boats met the same fate. The entire negory consisted of about twenty houses.
Why all this force was used and the village burned down is hard to explain; it was done on the Governor's orders and 66 Ship's Journal H.M. "Reygersbergen", 18 July, 1817.
Rijksarchief, The Hague.
The IIIris" had sailed a couple of days earlier with orders to cruise a few days in the Banda sea to intercept any weapon and ammunition shipment from islands like Flores and Soembawa, after which she was to rendevous with the "Reygersbergen", the "Maria" and the "Dispatch" off Saparua.
he had been sent to ask for assistance against the rebels who were on the island and against the violence of Kapitan Lucas. This Lucas was the same person known as Thomas
ruled over the islands Saparua, Haruku and Nusa Laut and on his orders the Rajas had no more authority with the people.
He (Lucas) was prepared to make peace with the Dutch government and would be prepared to tolerate a Resident, as long as that functionary came under his authority.
68 Ship's Journal "Reygersbergen" 21 July, 1817.
Nusa Laut, the smallest island in the Uliasan group had always been the least troublesome and most peace-loving one. Its inhabitants had been coerced into participating in the revolt, but their co-operation was less than enthusiastic, to the annoyance of Matulesia. It was as a punishment for their lack of zeal that they were forced to bury the dead of the Beetjes expedition.
70 The writer has not been able to find any reason why Matulesia is here referred to as "Lucas".
Hatawano on the 19th also gave information about Fort Duurstede, which, he said, had been ringed with man traps and pitfalls; all its guns had been spiked and all gates had been fastened with steel bands. He further reported that on Saparua, too, the bulk of the villagers preferred the Dutch government, but were too much under the influence of Kapitan Lucas to dare say so for fear of having their heads cut off.
On 1 August the flotilla which had operated at Hatawano sailed south to commence the attack on Fort Duurstede and Saparua town. For particulars of the action of the next few days, the author will draw heavily on the
On 3 August, at 5.30 a.m., the landing force took to the boats, while at the same time the heavy ship's guns opened fire on the Fort. Resistance was minimal and by
of the information given by the Patti of Nusa Laut, Fort Duurstede was in fact found to be unmanned. Matulesia had probably decided that once the Dutch warships had laid siege to the Fort, with their heavy naval guns against which the rebels had no means of reply, his men would be trapped in the Fort and unable to participate in any further fighting. Inside the Fort all guns were spiked and a quantity of bullets was found 72 • During the day the Fort was readied for defence. Guns were brought from the ships 71 Journal Groot. Rijksarchief, The Hague.
72 Boelen p.264 also describes in some detail some of the gruesome finds in the Fort, such as a bloody sock with a little child's foot still inside it.
and houses in the periphery, including the Resident's house, were burned down to clear the field of fire. Not much was seen of the rebels who had fled when the heavy guhs opened with grape-shot.
The capture of Fort Duurstede was mostly a moral victory. The entire island was still in rebels' hands and
only well that provided for the Fort as well as for the ships was a few yards outside the walls and at times it ran dry. It was also under constant sniper-fire by the rebels.
The greatest strategic value in the occupation of the fort was the fact that it did tie down enemy forces, preventing further attacks like the one on Haruku on 3 June •
supplies of every description, but Ambon seemed to lack both the resources and the fortitude to manage affairs. After much delay the merchant ship "Anna" arrived with water and gunpowder but no cartridges, bullets or reinforcements.
The villagers, meanwhile, during the dark of the night, had built coral stone fortifications close to the fort and as one side destroyed them, the other rebuilt. On Sunday 21 September, the rebels appeared with tables and chairs, dressed in black and called out to the fort that they wanted to hold a church service in the field. Fire from the fort soon persuaded them that it was seen as a ruse to lure the Christian Ambonese troops to join them.
Commander Groot, still hopeful of persuading the rebels to surrender, issued a Proclamation, many copies
of which were left in the field by the patrols. It advised therebels to submit and thus avoid having their possessions and house burned or otherwise destroyed. It also offered a
rebels' response was to hang a bundle of these Proclamations on a stake in front of the fort, showing their derision.
Although Ambon had received news of the revolt as early as 16 May, the Moluccan Commission had not informed the Commission General in Batavia until 2 June, in a letter sent by "Nautilus", which had sailed from Ambon on 9 June.
No doubt they cherished the hope that they could put down the mutiny in a short time. The "Nautilus" was the British ship carrying Resident Mackenzie back to Bengal, the same ship the Commission had hoped would have been made available to fight the rebels. The news of the Moluccas, related to the Commission General by Mackenzie, only confirmed their loss of confidence in their Ambon Commissioners.
The Commission General sprang into action immediately.
By Secret Decree of 24 June, 1817, it was decided that Buyskes, the Third Commissioner, was to sail to the Moluccas with reinforcements. The expeditions would be assembled in Sourabaya and leave at the earliest possible moment.
The next day the important Decree of 25 June, dealing with the strife that seemed to exist between the Ambon Commissioners, gave Buyskes authority to disband this
Commission and assume responsibility for government himself, if he deemed it advisable. After their consultation with Mackenzie the Batavia Commission had little doubt that the blame for the disastrous events had to be placed to a large extent on the Moluccan Commissioners.
Sourabaya to supervise preparations for his expedition, they
wrote on 28 June:
"It seems certain that the Dutch officials lost sight of the need to treat the natives, especially the Christians, with gentleness and that, to preserve the peace, exactly the opposite actions should have been taken, than were in fact taken.
It is therefore our belief that, where no immediate involvement (with the revolution) has taken place, one can not be too lenient.
Those who participated in the revolt and the crimes that went with it, will most likely, out of fear for punishment, persevere, and measures commensurate with their behaviour must be taken;
but since our aim is to reap profits from these possessions, force must be used wisely.
We should not omit to mention that, in truth, the behaviour of the Commissioners who, as we understand it, live in enmity, appears to us to be highly undesirable and the fitness for office of Mr Van Middelkoop is extremely doubtful. His removal from office therefore seems advisable and we are satisfied to leave this matter to you n75 • The troops Buyskes took with him to the Moluccas consisted of 250 men, both European and native, under the command of the youthful, 28 year old, Major Meyer. Buyskes arrived at Ternate on 1 September, 1817, and discussed the renewal of contracts with the Sultans of Ternate and Tidore.
The Sultan of Tidore, who had usurped the throne with the help of the British, had difficulties with his son the Sultan Mudah, pretender to the throne and with his subjects
in some districts, who refused to acknowledge his right to the throne. Buyskes adjudicated in the matter, convincing the Sultan Mudah to stay in Ternate until the government could rule in the matter. The Sultan of both Ternate and Tidore then "gave proof of their attachment to the Dutch government by placing twenty armed and manned kora-koras each at my disposal,,77. Buyskes obviously had more faith in the Sultans than did Van Middelkoop two months earlier, a matter on which Buyskes does not comment. These kora-koras, from Ternate and Tidore were armed with swivel guns, and all able bodied men that were to be found were pressed into service, apparently much against their will. "So great was the fighting spirit of the Ternatese", writes one observer "that some cried like children while others desperately tried to jump into the sea or to escape to the mountains".