|THE MAKASSARS IN AYUTTHAYA (Part 3)
|The initial conspiracy
De La Mare recalls a prior conspiracy against the King of Siam which occurred five years earlier in which the Prince of Makassar was involved. The
plot to kill King Narai and to put his younger half-brother Chao Fa Noi on the throne was timely discovered. King Narai forgave not only his younger
half-brother but also the Prince of Makassar and all his accomplices. (1)
The second conspiracy
The initial conspiracy left the fire smouldering under the Muslim population and it flared up again begin 1686.
De La Mare wrote “that this excess of generosity should have produced an eternal regret in the soul of this ungrateful man; but far from
repenting his crime, he conspired again four months ago, at the solicitation of the Princes of Champa, who had also taken refuge in this
Court, like himself and who had resolved to crown the youngest of the brothers of his Majesty, and to propose to him afterwards the
turban or death.”
Turpin wrote that the Makassar Prince corrupted the Princes of Champa by means of specious promises. These Princes of Champa (2) were three
brothers, the sons of the late King of Champa, who escaped here at the accession of their eldest brother to the throne, for fear of receiving some ill-
treatment as being possible rivals. One of these brothers was an officer in King Narai's household in Lopburi and did not belong to the faction. The
two others lived as private persons. The youngest Cham prince conspired with an influential Malay with connections to Champa, to open a road to
This Malay together with a Muslim priest conducted the whole affair. It was said that the plotters had resolved, that even if the youngest prince
embraced Islamic law, they would only leave him temporary on the throne, and afterwards oblige him to dethrone so that they could crown one of
them on a plurality of votes. All Christians and idolaters in the Kingdom would have to converse to Islam or die.
The Cham prince announced in the Malay, Cham, and Makassar camps that he had seen an omen, and he had seen this sign several times. (3) Every
time it occurred extraordinary things happened to his followers. He warned his people to pray the Prophet that it would be a good omen and to be on
their guard. With the help of the Muslim priest, he took them all in particular, one after the other, and gradually revealed them the undertaking. After
three months all his followers agreed to the plot, with the exception of three hundred Malays.
It was resolved that they would bring the three hundred Malays to the assembly point, without telling what their intention was and it was believed that
they would not hesitate to follow their compatriots swift when they saw who was already involved in the plan. The plan included to free all the
prisoners and galley-slaves in the city to augment their forces, to set ﬁre to the houses of the Siamese and while they were busy trying to save their
property and in the chaos, the plotters would proceed to the treasury and the palace, plunder them in the hope of encouraging the bravery of their
fellow-conspirators by the prospect of a rich booty and take possession of the throne; the palace and throne captured, the buttress and mainstay of
the King's power, was considered to be destroyed.  The start of the rebellion was set on the 15th of August at eleven o'clock in the evening.
The two princes of Champa, seeing the time of the uprising approaching, wrote a secret letter to their brother in Lopburi with a notice of their design
and warned him to save himself as soon as possible. The letter was to be delivered on the day of rebellion at eight o'clock in the evening, in order to
make it possible for their brother to escape timely. The Malay bearer of the letter gave the prince this letter in time, retired and fled. The sudden flight
made the Cham prince suspicious and he carried the letter unopened to Phaulcon. (4) As soon as the content was known, Phaulcon informed King
Narai of what was going on in the capital. The king immediately gave orders to break the designs of the factious. He organised a detachment of three
thousand men from his guard, to go and rescue the palace in Ayutthaya; sent the Chevalier Claude de Forbin to Bangkok, lest the conspirators
should seize it; ordered the remainder of his guards, numbering five thousand men to be repartitioned in his palace; and in the neighbourhood, he had
other troops placed on the avenues at the gates and on the ramparts of the city. Phaulcon caused the Portuguese soldiers in Bangkok, who had been
condemned to the galleys by a council of war, to be freed and to form companies, putting at their head those officers who had previously been
dismissed from their command. 
The conspirators gathered on a tongue of land separating the two rivers opposite the Makassar Camp. (5) The three hundred Malays, being in arms
by order of the plotters, not knowing in what game they were playing, and seeing so many people gathered, suspected treason. The prince in a hurry
and on their request divulged them his plans. The Malays in common voice condemned the action to betray the Siamese king and refused to
participate, which caused other Malays, feeling remorse, to back off, what finally led to the flight of all Malays.
The Muslim priest, realizing that the conspiracy would very soon be discovered, hurried himself to inform the governor of the city, in an attempt to
obtain pardon. As soon as the governor received the information he got the priest arrested and ordered the defences of the palace. Soldiers were
moved from one place to another as there were few, as to let the conspirators believe there were sufficient troops in the palace.
Spies informed the three ringleaders of the situation at the palace, who notwithstanding the desertion of a part of their people, were ready to march
for the execution of their plan. Hearing of the mobilisation at the palace they cancelled their plans and returned to their camp. The next morning the
conspirators learned that three thousand men of the King's guard had arrived at the palace and that all the inhabitants of the city were under arms and
encamped on the ramparts.
The king dispatched Phaulcon to Ayutthaya to investigate the conspiracy, having noticed that the conspirators had returned to their camp. The
influential Malay, who stood in for the execution of the plan together with the Muslim priest, surrendered and revealed everything to Phaulcon in the
hope to be forgiven by the king. Phaulcon informed the plotters that they should report within four days about their activities and accomplices, by
means of which the king would pardon them. About two hundred conspirators, mostly Malay, surrendered themselves to the Kings’ mercy and were
sent up to Lopburi, where some of them were notwithstanding executed. (6)
The Makassars though would not submit themselves. The Makassar Prince was on several occasions summoned by the king to come and give a
reason for his conduct, but he constantly refused to do so, excusing himself for not having entered into the conspiracy. He confirmed that it was true
that they had pressed him very much on this point, but that he had always held firm against the powerful solicitations which had been made of him,
that if he had committed any fault, it had been not to detect the authors of so pernicious a design, but that his character as a prince and that of a friend
were sufficient to exonerate him from having failed to do so, the office of a spy, and not having betrayed friends who had entrusted him with a secret
of this importance.
Two galleys had come from Celebes in 1685 to bring some presents and slaves (7) from the king of Makassar, Sultan Abdul Jalil (reign 1677-1709)
to the Makassar Prince. One of the galleys was still present trading its merchandise and was on the point of leaving when the conspiracy broke out.
The Makassar captain and crew numbering 53 souls, pretending to be completely ignorant of the plot, but deeply engaged in the conspiracy,
requested to leave Siam in their galley out of safety reasons after having witnessed the bad success of the undertaking. Phaulcon, glad that he could
reduce the number of plotters to be dealt with, provided them with a license to depart Siam, but at the same time sent a secret order to the Governor
of Bangkok to withhold the ship. (9)
The galley having weighed anchor on 23 August, a first interception took place as it was coming out of Ayutthaya, when two Siamese war boats,
under the command of English captain Coates, (10) fired bullets and buckshot in its direction, on the pretext that he had not quickly brought down
his sails to allow them on board to check his license . The order was given, however, to cease fire, lest the Dutch Company house, (11) which
was just on the opposite bank, be damaged, which would have led to an open conflict with the Dutch. The Makassar galley continued to descend the
river, very slowly.
The Makassar Galley
The Governor of Bangkok, Claude de Forbin, received from Phaulcon the order to hang out the chain between the two forts in Bangkok and to
hinder the Makassar galley reaching the open sea. The license was revoked as it was believed that the crew was involved in the conspiracy. De
Forbin got orders to go aboard the galley, to take inventory of the cargo and to seize and detain the captain and the crew. The galley arrived at the
chain on the 27th of August.
The captain of the galley was asked to come to the old fort (12) to give an account of the number of people and goods on his vessel. The captain
initially contested fearing for his safety, but after discussion, it was agreed upon that he could come ashore with seven crew all armed with their kris
(de Forbin misjudged here the efficacy of the dagger). (13)
The captain was conducted under a great square pavilion (built on one of the bastions) where he was received by de Forbin. The latter explained to
the captain that he had orders to hinder any Siamese to leave the kingdom and that it was necessary that his crew had to disembark to be checked
The captain coldly replied that he had fifty men and that he could be trusted to his word that they were all Makassar. In the necessity of obeying, he
detached two of his men, to go and fetch the rest of the crew.
As the word of the disembarkation took a while to arrive, de Forbin left the pavilion and took this moment to advance a group of twenty pikemen
and musketeers to the entrance of the pavilion and ordered the curtain to be drawn. De Forbin ordered the Siamese mandarin who acted as an
interpreter to tell the Makassars that they were arrested.
The Makassars recognized too late the peril in which they had engaged. The captain trusted his dagger in the stomach of the interpreter and in one
blow cut off three ribs. The remaining five Makassars, threw their caps on the ground, drew their daggers and killed instantly six other mandarins. De
Forbin gave the order to fire and of the six Makassars, four were killed in the pavilion and two others of which the captain escaped, though
wounded, by leaping down from the bastion into the moat.
The French captain de Beauregard, seeing that the Makassar Captain, though pierced by several bullets was still alive, forbade his sergeant to kill
him, and approached him to take his dagger. He took unfortunately, the scabbard instead of the handle, on which this almost dead man grabbed the
dagger and split de Beauregard's belly. (14)
The Chevalier de Forbin realised that he had to take stronger measures and brought the garrison in to invest the Makassars. The Makassars, who
had disembarked and marching towards the fort, were ordered to stop by the English Captain Hues at the head of forty Portuguese. They were
asking for their Captain, whereupon de Forbin engaged them in a conversation in order to gain time for his troops to get in a position to kill them.
Captain Hues, tired with all these delays, suddenly engaged. The 47 Makassars, who were squatted on the ground, realizing the situation, rose up all
at once, twisted the pieces of cloth with which they covered their shoulders with the turn of their arms to serve as shields in an attempt of selling their
lives very dearly. They fell on the Portuguese with such a fury that they broke their ranks and cut them to pieces in a blink of an eye. Captain Hues
was killed in the struggle, while the English Captain Minchin, at the head of another mixed Siamese-Portuguese company, very narrowly escaped with
life. Then they pushed towards the troops of de Forbin.
The garrison of above a thousand soldiers armed with lances and muskets, but totally ill-prepared, was so terrified and so confused by this first
charge of the Makassars, that each one thought of escaping. The Makassars killed all the soldiers they encountered left and right, in a terrible
Six of them, pursuing those who fled, got over to the other side of the river and killed women, children and all that came in their way, without
distinction of age or sex.
De Forbin not able to rally his Siamese soldiers, got upon a bastion from where he ordered musket fire upon the Makassars, the latter being master
of the battlefield. Finding nobody anymore to kill they retired to the river, went aboard their galley, set fire to it and returned ashore, armed with
lances. (15) They burnt all the barracks of the soldiers and marched along the riverside killing everybody they found on their passage without
distinction. De Forbin went in pursuit on a galley with 20 musketeers, overtook the Makassars about a league from the fort, and forced them to go
farther away from the riverside, whereupon he decided to return to the fort.
The six Makassars who had passed to the other side, entrenched in a monastery and killed all the monks. De Forbin with eighty soldiers with lances
arrived at the place but found the convent set on fire by the Siamese soldiers. The Makassars hid in the thick grass, but de Forbin and his troops
were able to kill five. A sixth Makassar still behind, a young boy who left his dagger in the body of a monk and was as thus disarmed, was stabbed
by the exasperated Siamese in a thousand places.
Arriving back at the fort, de Forbin reorganised. He found that he had lost 366 men, while the Makassars 17 (six killed in the pavilion, six near the
monastery and five on the battlefield). Two weeks later 3 more were caught about 2 leagues from Bangkok. Of the 3 caught, 2 were converted to
Christianism, baptised by the missionary priest Etienne Manuel (1662-1693) and died of their wounds shortly after. The third one was beheaded.
Another week later 17 others were killed, being no party as they were starved. All the rest perished in the woods or died from their wounds. All the
Makassar's heads were staked upon poles at Bangkok.
Continued - Part 4
1. Following Claude de Bèze, it was the eldest half-brother Prince Aphaithot, who was involved.
2. I presume these Princes of Champa were probably the brothers of Po Saut, King of Paduranga (called Ba Tranh by the Nguyen - reign 1660-
1692, who apparently forged an alliance with Siam in 1682). Paduranga (Phan Rang) was the last stronghold of the Chams.
3. Likely the omen referred to, is the total lunar eclipse in the morning of 11 December 1685 and observed by King Narai at the Kraison Siharat
residential hall at Thale Chup Son in Lopburi.
4. In the account of Muhammad Rabi Ibn Muhammad Ibrahim is mentioned that three Makassars disapproving the plot, betrayed the rebellion. (O’
5. This location can be found on Valentyn’s map "Groote Siamse Rievier Me-Nam Of Te Moeder Der Wateren In haren loop met de vallende
Spruyten Verbeeld" under No 46 - de Makassaarse Campon.
6. In the letter of Edward Udall, brother of Captain Henry Udall is written: "The Muccossoes of which there is a great many of them about Siam
a month before we came rebelled but had the worst of it and hundreds their heads set upon poles...". (Udall in Anderson, 1890)
7. These slaves were captured during the expedition by Arung Palakka, accompanied by the ruler of Gowa, against Toraja in 1683. (The Makassar
Annals). Nicolas Gervaise wrote that two Toraja slaves were obtained by M. de Chaumont and the Abbé de Choisy and taken to Paris.
8. Turpin wrote "Hearing of their resistance, the King of Macassar sent slaves and money to the rebellious princes to ensure them a means
of subsistence" as thus suggesting the galley was part of the preparation of the coup in delivering manpower and funds. Moreover, Englishmen
arriving from Mergui, affirmed to have seen forty sails of Malay vessels plying to windward at the Bar of Siam and therefore it was supposed they
had been cruising on the coast awaiting the outcome of the plot. (White in Anderson, 1890)
9. White suggests in his letter, that the Makassar Captain had to liaise on the outcome of the revolt with a fleet of Malay vessels cruising in the Gulf
near the coast. The appointed time being expired the fleet returned home. (White in Anderson, 1890)
10. John Coates was an English pirate captain, working for the King of Siam. Tachard writes his name as Cotse.
11. In 1670, King Narai gave the head of the Dutch Settlement a small plot of land at Wat Prot Sat to make a garden and a place for holiday or
excursion. On this plot stood a brick house. This location can be found on Valentyn’s map "Groote Siamse Rievier Me-Nam Of Te Moeder Der
Wateren In haren loop met de vallende Spruyten Verbeeld" under No 33 - 'S Comp's Thuyn.
12. The Wichai Prasit Fort before named the Wichayen Fort, is situated on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River near the confluence of
Khlong Bangkok Yai. The fort was built in the Ayutthayan era to prevent ships from sailing up the river to the then Siamese capital of Ayutthaya. The
fort is at present part of the Thai Navy's headquarters. On the eastern bank stood a small fort and in between these forts was a chain over the river to
stop incoming and outgoing vessels. The small fort on the eastern bank was replaced by a new construction designed by de La Mare. The new
fortress was still in an embryonal state, with two bastions, two curtains and a cavalier still to be built, when the French left in 1688.
13. The kris "… is a small dagger of a foot to a foot and a half long, the blade of which is flat, and made more often in waves by the sides. It
may have two fingers wide below the guard: from it diminishes little by little and terminates in a rather sharp point. There are some of
these, whose blade is poisoned. This is done in two ways, or by mixing the poison in the tempering in which the iron is placed, in order that
the substance may be penetrated, and of these there are, so to speak, blade costs up to a thousand Ecus. It is true that they do considerable
time in making these strong works. They observe certain superstitious moments in tempering: they strike a certain number of blows at
certain days of the month to forge them: they interrupt their work for weeks together, and they spend a few times thus several times during
a whole year making this chief of work of their diabolical art. The makers of Talismans keep less ceremony in the factory of their figures.
This poison is so subtle, that it suffices for the Kris to make a slight scratch, and draw a drop of blood, to be in a short time carried to the
heart. The only remedy, and what everybody says, is to eat as quickly as possible his own excrement, besides, a brave Malay and his Kris
are inseparable. To render it is an unworthy affront among them: to draw it and not to kill anyone is a mark of cowardice." (Tachard, 1689)
14. We could say ironically that de Beauregard fell victim of the special spell which the Makassars put on their daggers. As recalled by Muhammad
Rabi Ibn Muhammad Ibrahim: "Another effect of their spells is that while the dagger is in the possession of the owner, no thief or enemy is
able to overcome him and if a stranger steals the dagger he only brings harm to himself." (O’Kane, 2008) de Beauregard survived because of
de Forbin, who 'restored his entrails to their place and sewed the wound up'. He was to succeed de Forbin as governor of Bangkok, and later
Burnaby as governor of Mergui. (Smithies, 1996)
15. Samuel White writes that it was de Forbin who ordered to set fire at the galley. (Anderson, 1890)
 O'Kane, John (2008) - The Ship of Sulaiman - Routledge - The Macassar Revolt - page 136.
 Forbin, Claude (de) - The Siamese Memoirs of Count Claude de Forbin 1685-1688, introduced and edited by Michael Smithies, Chiangmai,
Silkworm Books, 1996.
 Pelras, Christian (1998) - La conspiration des Makassar à Ayuthia en 1686: ses dessous, son échec, son leader malchanceux. Témoignages
européens et asiatiques. In: Archipel, volume 56, 1998. L'horizon nousantarien. Mélanges en hommage à Denys Lombard (Volume I) pp. 163-198.