First War with China, and efforts to suppress the Slave-Trade - A.D. 1840.
Six large junks were soon afterwards met with, the whole of which were captured, and the crews of every one killed or made prisoners, besides which upwards of twenty prisoners taken by the pirates were released. Soon afterwards, while pursuing a pirate up a creek, his own light gig being far ahead of the heavier boats, he came up with the chase, which with his small party he gallantly boarded, several of her crew being killed, among which was Chappoo, a pirate chief long the terror of those seas. Altogether, in a week’s cruise he had destroyed a 14-gun battery and 100 piratical craft, and had taken upwards of 200 guns and 36 pirates, besides having killed nearly 400 more. He had, in addition, retaken six vessels and liberated sixty prisoners captured by the pirates.
One more example alone can be given of the expeditions against the pirates of those seas. On the 30th of January, 1849, news was brought to Sir James Brooke that a large fleet of pirates had attacked the neighbouring village of Palo, and had threatened with destruction the inhabitants of the Sarabas River. A force, consisting of H.M. brigs Albatross and Royalist, with the Nemesis and Renée, under the orders of Commander Farquhar, immediately got under way, accompanied by a native flotilla, under Rajah Brooke, and proceeded to meet them. The Nemesis steamed out to sea to prevent their escape in that direction, and as soon as she was descried by the pirates they made at once for the Kaluka River, where they were intercepted by the native boats and those commanded by Lieutenants Welmshurst and Everest. The pirates then made a dash to reach their river, when they came in contact with the men-of-war’s boats. It being now dark, there was considerable danger that the latter would fire into each other, or into the craft of their native allies. The password was “Rajah,” and the Malays screamed this out at the top of their voices when they thought any of the Europeans were near them. Commander Farquhar seeing two large proas escaping seaward, ordered the steam-tender to chase. The nearest one, having barely escaped one of her 6-pounder rockets, made for the river, but in her course was encountered by the Nemesis, which dealing death and destruction to all around her, ran her down, and a fearful scene took place as her crew, above sixty in number, came in contact with the paddle-wheels. A large Congreve rocket from the smaller steamer entered a proa which had stood out to sea, and completely destroyed her. The battle continued till past midnight, when Commander Farquhar, taking the boats in tow, commenced the ascent of the Sarabas, to prevent the escape of the pirates by the Rembas branch. At daylight the whole bay presented one mass of wreck, shields, spears and portions of destroyed proas, extending as far as the eye could reach, as well as on the sandy spit which extends a considerable distance seawards. On the left bank of the Sarabas were upwards of seventy proas, which the natives were busy clearing of all valuables and destroying. Of 120 proas which are said to have started on a piratical expedition, more than 80 were destroyed, with 1200 men. No more convincing proof of the inhuman disposition of the pirates need be cited than the fact that the bodies of women, supposed to have been captives taken by the pirates, were found on the beach decapitated and gashed from the shoulder to the feet. On sailing up the river the force destroyed a piratical town, some villages and war-proas, and then passing the Rejang River, chastised another tribe of pirates. Some prisoners were secured, among whom was a child, apparently of European origin. In other districts hostages were taken for the future peaceable demeanour of the inhabitants. By this severe example it was hoped that the piratical habits of the people would be effectually checked, and an opportunity given to the nascent civilisation of those regions to develop itself.