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Letters of Sincerity

The Raffles Collection of Malay Letters (1780-1824), A Descriptive Account with Notes and Translation

Ahmat Adam

Publication Year: 2009

Letters of Sincerity is a study in the traditional Malay art of letter writing. The work is based on the Raffles collection of Malay letters first discovered in Aviemore, Scotland, in November 1970. In this book Ahmat Adam provides a transcription form the original Jawi, into Rumi script of a series of letters sent to Stamford Raffles mostly around 1810 and 1811 by rulers of regional Malay polities. He also provides a translation into English, and supplementary notes, which set the letters in the context of the times, and explain the issues which they raise. In the course of this he additionally povides a detailed guide to the intricacies of Malay-Islamic dating which was in use at that time in the Malay-Indonesian world. His study on this aspect of Malay culture is the first to link Malay dating with Sufism.

Published by: Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-ii

CONTENTS

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pp. v-vi

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FOREWORD

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pp. vii-xii

In 1969, following negotiations with Mr J. R. F. Drake, acting on behalf of his mother, Mrs M. Rosdew Drake of ‘Inshriach’, Aviemore, Inverness-shire, Scotland, it was agreed to place the family’s collection of Raffles’ letters, papers and other materials, including his collection...

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PREFACE

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pp. xiii-xiv

This work is based on an M.A. long essay that I submitted to the University of London more than three decades ago. Due to the pressure of work both in teaching and administrative work at the universities in Bangi (1975–1995 and Kota Kinabalu (1995–2005)...

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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pp. xv-xvi

The production of this book in its present form would not have been possible without the help, co-operation, and encouragement of many people. I am indebted especially to Dr. John Bastin, himself an avid scholar of Raffles and the Malay Archipelago, who first drew my...

ABBREVIATIONS

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pp. xvii-

GLOSSARY

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pp. xviii-xx

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NOTE ON ORTHOGRAPHY

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pp. xxi-

In transliterating the letters from the original Jawi into Rumi Malay I have tried to adhere to the official orthography of both Malaysia and Indonesia, except where the original in Jawi does not change the meaning of words when the consonant...

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-34

The discovery of Malay letters written in Jawi script with dates ranging from 1780 [1194 AH] to 1823 [1239 AH] at Inshriach House in Aviemore, Scotland, was an important find for both historians of the Malay Archipelago and scholars of Malay studies...

PART I

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I. THE KEDAH LETTERS

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pp. 35-57

The following Kedah letters reveal an interesting aspect of the state’s relations with Siam in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. These letters complement what Rollins Bonney tried to show in his book1—that the Sultan of Kedah, being harassed by Siam...

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II. THE PENANG LETTERS

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pp. 58-82

Aletter of sincerity along with brotherly love and affection from me Seri Maharaja Saudagar;2 may it be delivered, I pray, to my friend Mr. Erskine3 who is wise and prudent towards helping friends and companions and those marred by misfortune; celebrated and renowned everywhere...

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III. THE PERAK LETTER

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pp. 83-87

An epistle of sincerity and varied gifts, that has enclosed within it uprightness and candour with affection and concord that is without bounds so long as there exist the heavenly sphere, sun and moon, be it night or day, from the Yang Di-Pertuan,1 most illustrious, who sits on the...

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IV. THE PEDAS AND REMBAU LETTERS

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pp. 88-96

The following letter written by Raja Ali of Pedas is of historical importance. Not only does it shed new light on the person of Raja Ali and the district of Pedas but, more importantly, it illuminates the relationship between Pedas and Rembau in the early 19th century...

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REMBAU

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pp. 97-100

Rembau is the name of the interior state that lies between Selangor to the north and Malacca to the west. In the early 19th century, Rembau, the capital, was the crowning place of the deputed sovereign of the Minangkabau, who assumed the title of Yang Dipertuan Besar. But...

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PART II LETTERS FROM THEJOHOR-RIAU-LINGGA KINGDOM

The sultanate of Johor-Riau and its dependencies underwent a period of significant transformation in the early 17th century following the murder in 1699 of Sultan Mahmud Syah, who died without leaving any offspring. With the establishment of the Bendahara...

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V. THE JOHOR AND SINGAPORE LETTERS

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pp. 103-104

This letter, with sincerity and pure heart and without regrets, comes from Paduka Seri Sultan Mahmud Syah who reigns with majesty and greatness in Johor and Pahang with all its dependencies. May the will of God convey this letter to our friend Beherma [or Bihrama] Philip Dundas...

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THE SINGAPORE LETTER

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pp. 105-109

In his History of Johore, Winstedt mentioned that it was Tun Ibrahim, Abdul Rahman’s ‘second son’ who succeeded him as the Temenggong of Singapore, bypassing the ‘elder son’, Abdullah, who, according to Winstedt, was ‘eccentric’.6 This Singapore letter confirms what Winstedt...

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VI. THE RIAU LETTERS

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pp. 110-119

The Riau-Lingga Archipelago was the name given by Dutch geographers to the group of numerous islands, islets, rocks and shoals which lies between Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula towards the eastern end of the Malacca Strait. Riau lies about fifty miles...

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VII. THE LINGGA LETTERS

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pp. 120-136

The following letters from Lingga—the two letters sent by the chiefs of Sultan Mahmud’s court, the letter from Tunku Pangeran of Siak, and another written by the syahbandar of Lingga, all addressed to Raffles—are of historical importance, for they shed some...

PART III LETTERS FROM SUMATRA

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VIII. THE SIAK LETTERS

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pp. 137-223

Before it became a separate state, the sultanate of Siak was a dependency of Johor and thus was an integral part of the Johor empire. Winstedt mentioned that in 1682 Johor attacked Siak, whose Minangkabau inhabitants were said to have recognized their...

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IX. THE JAMBI LETTER

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pp. 224-226

Verily this letter expresses sincerity and whiteness of heart with perpetual love and affection from Sayid Abdullah bin Abdul Rahman al-Habsyi who is taking shelter in the country of Jambi; may it by the grace of God, lord of the universe reach His Excellency Thomas Raffles...

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X. THE PALEMBANG LETTERS

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pp. 227-276

While most of the Palembang letters (nine in all) are letters written between 1809 and 1811, there is, however, an earlier letter dated 1780 from Governor Reynier de Klerk to the Sultan of Palembang. and another letter of a later date (1824), written by...

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XI. THE ACEH LETTER

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pp. 277-285

Praise be to Allah who delivered the holy book, prayers and perfect salutations and honour to Prophet Muhammad, most distinguished, and his companions, the best of families and friends. Having praised Allah, the Lord of Light, and offered prayers to the Prophet, Master of Chastity, and...

PART IV LETTERS FROM KALIMANTAN

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XII. THE PONTIANAK LETTERS

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pp. 286-297

A letter of sincerity and non-elaborate gift with honour and reverence along with much affection that is without end, so long as the galaxy revolves in the night and during the day, that is from His Highness Sultan Syarif Kasim1 son of the deceased Sultan Syarif Abdul Rahman,2 son of...

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XIII. THE SAMBAS LETTER

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pp. 298-301

And so this is a letter of sincerity and straightforwardness, along with varied gifts, that emerges from the heart that is transparent and of limpid purity, from His Highness Sultan Muhammad Tajuddin2 son of the deceased Sultan ‘Umar Akamuddin who reigns in the country of Sambas...

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XIV. THE BANJARMASIN LETTER

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pp. 302-304

Verily this letter is presented to the audience of His Excellency who is the representative of the Tuan Raja of Bengal. And so Kiyai Tanu Kersa [Garasa?],2 together with Ara [a-r] Sandung,3 has been commanded by Tuan Sultan Sulaiman who is presently the raja in the country of...

PART V LETTERS FROM JAVA

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XV. THE BANTEN LETTERS

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pp. 305-311

As a region, Banten was already recognized in the 14th century as a sovereign state and a well-known port city when it was conquered by Majapahit. Around 1524–1525 the armies of Sunan Gunung Jati from the Cirebon Sultanate together with the...

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XVI. THE CIREBON LETTERS

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pp. 312-317

This is a letter of sincerity that emanates from a whiteness of heart, from me Kangjeng5 Sultan Kesepuan6 and from Kangjeng Sultan Anom7 who reign in the country of Cirebon,8 coming in the presence of Mister Raffles Esquire who is agent to the Governor-General of Bengal, vested...

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XVII. HAJI MOHALI’S LETTER

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pp. 318-319

Dated one thousand two hundred and twenty-two,1 the year of Waw,2 equal to twenty-second of Dzulkaedah, on Tuesday3 [Haji [Muhammad Mohali]4 enters employment under the flag of the Governor of the English Company. The occupation being to despatch missives of the...

PART VI LETTERS FROM BALI

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XVIII. THE BALI LETTERS

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pp. 320-352

Bali is the next island east of Java. It is separated by a strait about a mile and a half wide. Its area is estimated at 1,685 square miles. Although Bali is only a small island, in the 19th century it was divided into no fewer than eight independent...

APPENDICE

APPENDIX I

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pp. 353-355

APPENDIX II

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pp. 356-360

APPENDIX III

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pp. 361-364

APPENDIX IV

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pp. 365-369

APPENDIX V

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pp. 370-371

APPENDIX VI

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pp. 372-

APPENDIX VII

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pp. 373-374

APPENDIX VIII

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pp. 375-376

APPENDIX IX

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pp. 377-378

APPENDIX X

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pp. 379-393

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 394-407

SUBJECT INDEX

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pp. 408-420


E-ISBN-13: 9789679948523
Print-ISBN-13: 9789679948455

Page Count: 442
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: New