Letter of the King of Bone La Patau Paduka Sri Sultan Idris Azim ud-din (r. 1696–1714) and Sira Daeng Talele Karaeng Ballajawa to the Supreme Government, 1697


This sincerer letter of unblemished, genuine  affection carries with it the most heart-felt salutations of Paduka Raja Bone and Paduka Bonda Petry Daing Telille who hope that the Almighty shall allow to arrive in the hands of His Excellency the Lord Governor-General Willem van Outhoorn and the Gentlemen Councillors of Asia, whom the sublime God has set in their mighty and most highly esteemed dignities etc.

Moreover, when Your Most Highly Honoured [Gentlemen’s] excellent letter, and the extraordinary [large] gifts which were sent with it were brought hither, we ordered that these same should be received with all the pomp and ceremony we could muster.

As we read the letter, from every line it exudced pearls of wisdom of inestimable value, and on account of the eminent and most excellent words of Your Excellency, we are greatly delighted and competely satisfied to be able to take cognizance of Your Excellencies’ favourable response to the words and petitions of all of us, the people of Bone.

Furthermore, our trust is immeasurably increased because we have seen this made manifest by Your Excellencies’ gift and benefactions. With the greatest respect, we have obeyed to the very best of our abilities the contents of Your Excellencies’ letter, in which the contract with Bungaya is mentioned. It is this Contract and it alone which gives us our freedom, in which we the people of Bone and Soppeng can once again administer our law and [govern] our property. God in His Compassion has made most explicitly clear to us that it is the Company [and it alone] which has restored our good name to us, the people of Bone and Soppeng [fol. 486].

Therefore our trust in the Company is great and are eternally grateful, not only for the reasons Your Excellencies have mentioned in your letter which serves us as lessons and instruction, but also because Your Excellencies have graciously condescended to mention the good services which our late Lord rendered the Company. Therefore Your Excellencies’ affection and love great for all [the people] who have been bequeathed by our late Lord, and [who] have had their freedom restored to them by Your Excellencies must be great. This is surely the reason that Your Excellencies have been pleased to pass on your salutary lessons, which have only augmented our joy and honour.

Furthermore Your Excellencies have been pleased to pay us your attention  by examining the ins and outs of the Soppeng affair, for which we are very grateful, as Your Excellencies are not unaware, that there are those outside us who have been doing their utmost best to misinform the Company, so that had Your Excellencies not mentioned this matter, we had been trapped in this labyrinth and the Company would have remained ignorant of the deceit and guile of our opponents. Therefore, we are deeply grateful and most content that Your Excellencies desire to know more about and get to the heart of the matter of the causes of the Soppeng affair. To [comply with] this we shall commence by stating that, when Toysangh revealed evidence of his unseemly behaviour, to the great distress of our late lord Raja Soppeng, who had made his will at Bontoala in the presence of our overlord the late Paduka Bone, as a consequence [fol. 487] it happened that  the late Raja Bone decreed that a meeting of the people of Bone and those of Soppeng should be convened in the negorij (chiefdom) Soppeng so that they could remind each other of the reasons and words by which Admiral Speelman took us under his protection, as well as to consult each other about the execution of the will drawn up in favour of Raja Bone by the late Raja Soppeng.

Thereupon the people of Bone and those of Soppeng met [together] harmoniously. They asserted that their prosperity and means of livelihood stemmed principally from the fact that they had honoured the testament of their lord, as a consequence of which those of Soppeng and of Bone had unanimously chosen Dato Diwasu as King of Soppeng, and had then voted in common to depose Toysangh. This [decision] was also announced to the lord commissioner Dirk de Haas when His Excellency arrived in Makassar from Ambon. To this we hold fast and continue to insist [that this is the truth].

Moreover, as concerns the causes or the fundamentals of our Soppeng affair, this is what happened. When we were bereft of our lord the late Paduka, we prepared him a grave at Goa, and we guarded that grave. Also I was summoned before Raja Goa and his court, and Raja Goa said to me, ‘I have sent a letter to Toysangh, saying that you are not to make any move before you acquiesce in my words’. And Raja Goa went on to say ‘Should Toysangh send no reply to these my words, then there is no doubt that what he is up to bodes no good.’

I, meanwhile, had no wish to respond to what Raja Goa had to say. After twenty days had passed that [fol. 488] our lord had lain in his grave, we returned to Bontoala etc. where we arrived on the 29th day of the month of July. When Daeng Balykangh came to us on the orders of Raja Goa, enquiring of us, ‘Does Raja Bone know that Toysangh has once again returned to the kingdom of Soppeng? And that Dato Dywatu has been driven from his kingdom?’, this was the first inkling of what Toysangh had undertaken and that he had commanded the people of Soppeng to submit themselves to him at Menpu, and to lend him armed assistance.

The generals, or the leaders of the people of Soppeng, who had proceeded to our kingdom with weapons while we were absent and it was empty, as we had been advised by a man of Bone who came from Bugis, were Ladayang and Toubaki. This [attack] caused us much heart-ache. As a consequence we gathered all the peoples of Bone together at Batoala, in order to inform them of the [contents of the] will drawn up by our lord the late Raja Soppeng in the presence of the Paduka Raja Bone.

We reached an agreement with Arung Itu that we and all the petty kings [chiefs] of Bone would go to Soppeng, to summon all the peoples of Soppeng together, pay greater attention to the said testament, all the more so as it concerned our livelihood and prosperity. Because, when we entered [Fort Rotterdam, Makassar] and asked permission of the governor, Isaek van Thije, to proceed to ’Tsienrana, without informing him of the rest of the story, we had absolutely not resolved in our hearts to commit any crime or to launch into any conflict between Bone and Soppeng. After we had departed to ’Tsienrana, we met out envoy, who [fol. 489]  who told us that the people of Soppeng had not answered with a single word. Once we had arrived at Tanete, we ordered him to go back to Soppeng, in order to repeat our words once again, to which again not a word was given in reply.

In the meantime, we continued our advance and reached a certain halting place called Toudangang, where an envoy came to say that Raja Bone would not deign to visit Soppeng, seeing our people the arms of the people of Soppeng. Eventually we arrived at ’Tsienrana, where we heard that the people of Soppeng had summoned our Toraja people, ordering them to construct a redoubt, desiring that they should join up with the people of Mandar, as well as those of Wadzio, Sedinre, Sowyto, Mohyna, Maichyna, Hyryna, Manpu, and the old Arung Tenete, Arung Oudziongh, plus the people of Patan, Panoya, thereby discovering the truth about all these matters, as one of these peoples showed us the document which the people of Soppeng had sent them.

On 20th of the month of September, Syangh (Daeng) Mambany, [who] had been dispatched by Toysangh,  announced that Toysangh was sharing a place of residence with Dato Dijwatu, and that he (Daeng Mambany) had been sent hither to say that it would be good if Raja Bone were to enter into an alliance between the countries of Bone and Soppeng, as had been decided earlier. To this we replied that this was also our principal goal, and it was for this very reason we had so often dispatched an envoy [to him], desiring that those [people] of Bone and of Soppeng [fol. 490] should share one place of residence although you people have never wanted anything of this sort.

On the first day of October, Raja Soppeng came to ’Tsienrana, accompanied only by two people of royal descent and one of his slaves. On this occasion I asked him if it were true that my lord shared  property with Toysangh and had sent Daeng Mambay hence? To this Raja Soppeng averred, ‘I share in no common property,’ and Raja Soppeng went on to say, ‘O Father! I have come hither to you for no other reason than to seek refuge with you, and to surrender myself to you, because I was driven out of my kingdom by the people of Soppeng, and thereafter Toysangh proclaimed himself King of Soppeng. I was informed of this same by hearing the beating of drums and the acclaim of the people who have sworn an oath of fealty to him, as he has robbed me of that with which you My Lord Father gladdened my heart.

On 2 October the people of Bone accomplished what they had sought of Governor Van Thije, when we planned to depart to Bugis, namely that they would raise Raja Bone to be king of his realm according to the ancient customs and [they] unfurled and spread out the golden parasol of the realm above him.  As this signalled the end of our task, [the king] commanded the people of Bone to send some presents and goods to those of Soppeng. And we carried them thither with the will of the late King of Soppeng, drawn up in the presence of Paduka Raja Bone (the which we did). Nonetheless, the people of Soppeng would have none to do with this, and instead attacked the negorij   [fol. 491] of our lord Dat Datsyta, robbing and ruining all the inhabitants of the same, and also perpetrated the same on those of the negorij Wato.

When a messenger from Marobo came to us, and asked for our help, saying that we must also help protect them, which greatly grieved us, as we could not tolerate these two Soppeng affronts, first because somebody had made changes in the words by which we been accepted [under his protection] by Admiral Speelman, and secondly because somebody had tried to undo what our late Lord had achieved. As we were extremely indignant about the business of Toysangh, who had made changes to the settled affairs of our late lord, also fearing, if we did nothing about it, that perhaps for this reason the Company would withdraw its favour from us.

Thereupon, having resumed our march to Soppeng, we arrived at Tanatenga on 11th October, where we passed [through] the great hunting reserve and once again ordered that goods be taken to the people of Soppeng, with the recommendation that they should accept that which had been brought, but they refused these point blank. We then moved on farther to the negerij Mare-Mare where Daeng Malaba came to us, ‘We have taken note of the testament drawn up in the presence of Paduka Raja Bone al-Marhum by our Lord the late King of Soppeng.’ To which we answered that we were glad that you (the people of Mare-Mare) respected and appreciated our Lord’s will, and it would be a good thing were the people of Bony and Soppeng to be united, joining together [fol. 492] in order to honour the [terms of the] testament, and to comply with the very last wish of our Lord. To this , Daeng Malaba answered, ‘Permit me to return first to discuss this reply with all the people of Soppeng.’ Thereupon Daeng Malaba departed for Soppeng, from where he returned again in the morning, saying it was good, tomorrow shall we the people of Bone and Soppeng make a united front.

For this reason we became careless, only marching that evening. In the meanwhile, the people of Soppeng were afoot, and taking up their arms, and [attempted to] drive us off, but we withstood them, but when the  people of Bone saw that we were being driven onto the back foot by the people of Soppeng, they also took up their arms with great ferocity, and came to our assistance. And we fell on the people of Soppeng ferociously, because we wanted to get our own back, we attacked them in the morning and fought with them until evening, [when] they lost the battle and fled seeking shelter.

When Daeng Malaba reappeared before us [he said], ‘I have come here with no  other purpose than to submit to the will of our Lord’, bringing with him Arung Salutango and Toubagi there and then, as they were the cause of these differences. To this we replied, ‘Daeng Malaba, what do you want of me? You have disobeyed the will of our Lord and you began the whole affair by attacking us, as must surely still be fresh in your memory, if this is so, tomorrow we shall make a beginning to become one unified whole.’ On the morrow, we assembled the peoples of Bone and Soppeng [fol. 493] together as we wanted them to be unified so as to fulfil the last wish of our Lord, the late King of Soppeng, as [he had] recommended to the late Raja of Bone. Thereafter we have as one man declared that such an affair was one injurious to our weal and prosperity, and we with joined hands had decided to execute Arung Saloutongo and Toubagy, despite the fact that the path to the death of the royal children of Bone and Soppeng is tantamount to villainy, going against the custom and laws of the neorijen. Therefore as these two people have broken and abused the laws of the neogrijen, so have they died.

When this had been accomplished, we returned to ‘Tsienrana whither we were followed by some people of Soppeng, who wanted to assist our lord (Dato Dywatu), and to restore him to his kingdom. Afterwe arrived at ‘Tsienrana, so did the ruler Dato Dywatu as before return to his Soppeng realm, without us causing him the slightest difficulty and unity was settled between Bone and Soppeng. Thus is made known in all truth and sincerity how matters stand in Soppeng. Finis.

In conclusion, the humble present for the Lord Governor-General and the Councillors of Asia which accompanies this letter on the orders of Paduka Raja Bone consists of ten [male] slaves, and from Paduka Putri Daeng Telille two female slaves. This is what is in our capacity to send, although it does not match the value of what was sent to us. Finis.

Written in negorij Bantoala in the Kingdom of Bone. The 4th day of the week, and the 29th day of the month of May in this year.