Palembang in 1811 and 1812
Author: J. Bastin
Publisher: Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 109 (1953), no: 4, Leiden, 300-320
Recently the controversy surrounding the Palembang massacre was reopened with the publication of an English translation of a letter which Raffles sent to the Sultan Badr'uddin, and which was not published by Baud
The late C. E. Wurtzburg argued on the basis of this new letter that the sending of arms to Badr'uddin was not
directed for use against the Dutch garrison there, but against a Dutch naval force reported off Palembang. Baud had based his argument upon Malay letters which Raffles had addressed to the Sultan of Palembang in 1810—11. He had seen copies of these letters in 1816 when Badr'uddin sent the originals to "an old friend at Batavia" to present to the Commissioners-General "in order to make use of them for averting the calamities which he expected might come down on him" for the part he played in the massacre of the Dutch in 1811. He sent the letters in the hope of throwing the blame for the massacre onto Raffles.
Baud himself never saw the original letters, but printed the copies which Badr'uddin's friend had made for him. On the basis of these copies Baud had no difficulty in showing Raffles' guilt. However, the discovery of three of the original letters from Raffles to the Sultan now show clearly that Baud's copies were inaccurate, not only substituting a crude Malay for the polished high-court Malay of Raffles' scribe, but in some cases altering the meaning by compression