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the work just mentioned, as from the correspondence now before us, we feel pleasure in quoting a private letter which was addressed to Mr. Raffles, at an early period of his administration, by Lord Minto.
Calcutta, 15th Dec. 1812. My Dear Sir,-I shall be impatient for the materials which are called for, because I am anxious to deliver, without reserve or qualification, the very high and favourable view I now have of that whole series of measures beginning with the expedition to Palembang, and ending with the arrangement of the two courts of Solo and Diocjocarta, connected and combined with each other as those measures were. I consider the result of the latter proceeding as very glorious to your administration, during the short period of which more will have been accomplished for the security of the European power, the tranquillity of the island, and the solid improvement of general prosperity and happiness, than several centuries have been able to perform, when the superiority of European power was exerted, unencumbered by the scruples of justice and good faith.
• Nothing can be more excellent than all your arrangements in the eastern districts of Java.
. With regard to Palembang and Banca, your latest reports have enabled us to approve, without reservation, the arrangement formed at Palembang, and the annexation of Banca to the territories of the East India Company, our minds being satisfied upon the two points of justice and expediency. The sovereignty of the Sultan of Palembang is indisputably subject, both to the laws of conquest in so just a war, and to the effect of cession from the authority under which it is now held. • Believe me ever, my dear Sir, inost truly and affectionately your's,
MINTO.'—pp. 130, 131. Before Mr. Raffles quitted Java, he was appointed by his friend, Lord Minto, to the Residency of Bencoolen; but his health was then so exhausted, that his medical advisers considered it necessary for him to return to England, where he arrived in the summer of 1816. His first ambition was to vindicate his late administration, a task in which he unfortunately did not succeed, at least so far as the Company were concerned. They coldly gave him credit for good motives, but would express no opinion on his measures. We have but a scanty notice of his residence in England on this occasion.
Mr. Raffles's health was so much impaired by his residence in India, that his friends strongly urged the necessity of relinquishing all thoughts of returning to that country, but to this advice it was unfortunately not in his power to attend; previously to leaving England, however, he was anxious to record the information which he had collected regarding Java. The island had been transferred by the English government, in total ignorance of its value, to the Dutch. The presence of Mr. Raffles in England created an interest in the subject as far as his personal influence extended. To diffuse this interest more generally, and to make the country sensible of the loss sustained by the relinquishment of so flourishing a colony to a foreign and a rival power, he determined to write his History of Java, which he completed with his usual quickness. A few sheets were rapidly written off every morning for the printer, and corrected at night on his return from his dioner engagements. It was commenced in the month of October, 1815, and published in May, 1817.* It was at this time that Mr. Raffles was presented to his Majesty, then Prince Regent, and received the honour of knighthood.
• During this period Sir Stamford enjoyed the pleasures of society with a zest which may be well imagined, when the vigour of his mind and the variety of his tastes are considered. He left England, indeed, at an age when he had no opportunity of judging of the attractions of its best society; but whilst he was occupied in his public duties in the East, he seized eagerly every opportunity to gratify his thirst of knowledge, and to improve the talents with which God had blessed him ; he, therefore, in every station, surrounded himself with all of every class from whom he could derive information; and he returned to England with talents ripened, and with a taste formed for all the intellectual enjoyments of life. During the fifteen months which he thus passed, he had the happiness to obtain the friendship of many, whose sympathy in after scenes of anxiety and sorrow with which it pleased God to visit him, proved a source of comfort and consolation. He had also the high gratification of being one of those whom their Royal Highnesses Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold honoured with proofs of regard. He was a frequent guest at Claremont. His last dinner, before he set out on his last expedition, was there, and the ring which, on that day, the Princess gave to him, was the gift which, of all such gifts, he prized most.'--pp. 286, 287.
After a tour through the Continent, during which he commenced a correspondence, continued for several years after, with the Duchess of Somerset, Sir Stamford Raffles returned to India, and entered upon his duties as Resident at Bencoolen, in the island of Sumatra. He thus describes the comforts which awaited him on his arrival. This is, without exception, the most wretched place I ever beheld. I cannot convey to you an adequate idea of the state of ruin and dilapidation which surrounds me. What with natural impediments, bad government, and the awful visitations of Providence which we have recently experienced, in repeated earthquakes, we have scarcely a dwelling in which to lay our heads, or wherewithal to satisfy the cravings of nature. The roads are impassable; the highways in the town overrun with rank grass; the Government-house a den of ravenous dogs and polecats.' In short, the settlement was in a most miserable condition. The chief revenue of the government was derived from taxes on gambling and cock-fighting. No wonder, therefore, that murders and robberies were of daily occurrence, and that Bencoolen, although one of the Company's first settlements in point of time, was a complete sink of vice. It was, moreover, the Botany Bay of India, whither numbers of convicts were annually transported. The Company retained possession of Bencoolen solely on account of its produce
* Early in this year Mr. Raffles married Sophia, daughter of J. W. Hull, Esq., of the County of Down, Ireland.
in pepper ; but the system of forced labour upon which they acted there was so radically bad, that the supply of pepper was generally much below the expenditure. Sir Stamford Raffles applied his energies to the reformation of the evils which surrounded him on every side. He emancipated the slaves, abolished the system of compulsory labour, introduced an entirely new scheine of government, and, in a very short time, embroiled himself with ihe Dutch authorities, who had then possession of the greater part of Sumatra. He penetrated into the interior of the island, and explored its resources with his accustomed accuracy and expedition. We do not propose accompanying him in this tour. A single extract, however, from one of his letters upon the subject, may be read with interest.
"" I should not omit to inform you, that the immediate occasion of my visiting Passumah was to reconcile contending interests which had long distracted the country. For the last ten years these people had been at war with us, or rather we had been at war with them, for we appeared to have been the aggressors throughout. I was assured that my person would be endangered, that the Passumahs were a savage ungovernable race, and that no terms could ever be made with them, and I was not a little grati. fied to find every thing the reverse of what had been represented to me. I found them reasonable and industrious, an agricultural race more sioned against than siqning.
"" In the vicinity of Nigri-Cayn were several hot springs, and we soon succeeded in making very comfortable warm baths.
«« On the next day we proceeded to Tanjung Alem (the point of the world), another village in the Passumah country, which we reached in about six hours' walk, through one of the finest countries in the world, having before us nearly the whole way the volcanic mountain called Gu. nung Dempu, from which the smoke issued in large volumes.
o At Tanjung Alem we remained two nights. We found the villages in this part of the country most respectable, many of them having more than five hundred inhabitants; the houses large, and on a different plan to those on the coast, each village, which may rather be considered as a small town, had a fosse or ditch around it, with high palisades. We passed the site of two or three towns which were represented to have been destroyed by the petty hostilities between the chiefs.
5-6 During our stay at Tanjung Alem, the chiefs entered into a treaty. by which they placed themselves under the protection of the British government, and thus all cause of dispute and misunderstanding was at once set at rest. I must also note another occurrence of moment: an old woman of rank died, and we witnessed all the ceremonies; they commenced by all the females of the village repairing to the house of the deceased, and setting up a squall something like the Irish howl for an hour or two. After this the body was removed to the Bali, or hall of audience, where we were to dine; we, however, preferred dining in another place, but in the evening it was expected that we should be present at the ceremony, which consisted of dancing and singing, in the presence of the whole village assembled in the hall where the body lay. On the next morning the head of the village killed a goat and sprinkled the blood about the house of the deceased, and all the maidens within hail attended at the Bali, contending with each other who should exclaim loudest: 'Oh, mother! come back, mother, come back !' This continued till they concluded the body would keep no longer, when it was hurried off, and quietly carried out of the village to a grave, in which it was interred without further ceremony.
"“ The people, though professedly Mahomedans, seem more attached to their ancient worship and superstitions than I expected. I clearly traced an ancient mythology, and obtained the names of at least twenty gods, several of whom are Hindus. In each of the villages we found a Lang'gar, similar to that noticed at Merambung, but generally better constructed.
• " The utmost good-humour and affection seemed to exist among the people of the village; they were as one family, the men walking about holding each other by the hand, and playing tricks with each other like children; they were as fine a race as I ever beheld; in general about six feet high, and proportionably stout, clear and clean skins, and an open ingenuous countenance. They seemed to have abundance of every thing; rice, the staple food of the country, being five times as cheap as at Bencoolen, and every other article of produce in proportion. The women and children were decorated with a profusion of silver ornaments, and particularly with strings of dollars and other coins hanging two or three deep round the neck. It was not uncommon to see a child with a hundred dollars round her neck. Every one seemed anxious for medicine, and they cheerfully agreed to be vaccinated. The small-pox had latterly committed great ravages, and the population of whole villages had fled into the woods to avoid the contagion.”—pp. 313, 319.
It was the business of Sir Stamford to make himself as popular as possible amongst the natives, whom he visited on this occasion. How far he succeeded, the following affecting incidents mentioned by Lady Raffles will shew.
• The pleasure of this journey was great to Sir Stamford, as it opened to bin a field of future usefulness. He saw that it was not only the barren coast which he had to improve, but a country rich in all the bounties of nature, and a people ready and willing to profit by his influence and advice. One old Chief, on taking leave, actually fell on his neck and wept; and soon after walked the whole way from Janjungalum, the most distant place visited, to see him again at Bencoolen. Such simple uncivilized people are soon won by kindness; they are like children, easy to lead, hard to drive. It was Sir Stamford's extreme simplicity of mind and manners that rendered him so peculiarly attractive to them, as they are always ready to be kind and attentive, provided they meet with encouragement and sympathy, thus affording a proof that the heart is the best teacher of true politeness. The editor on reaching Merambung, laid down under the shade of a tree being much fatigued with walking: the rest of the party dispersed in various directions to make the necessary arrangements, and seek for shelter ; when a Malay girl approached with great grace of manners, and on being asked if she wanted any thing, replied, “ No, but seeing you were quite alone, I thought you might like to have a little bichara (talk) and so I am come to offer you scme siri, (betel) and sit beside you." And no courtier
could have discussed trifling general subjects in a better manner, or have better' refrained from asking questions which were interesting to herself only; her object was to entertain a stranger, which she did with the greatest degree of refinement and politeness.'-—p. 321.
After putting Bencoolen in some sort of order, Sir Stamford was appointed British Agent in the Eastern Seas, the object entrusted to him being the establishment of a post, which, from its geographical position, should be best adapted for affording protection to British trade in the Indian Archipelago. Such a spot he found in Singapore, at the southern entrance of the Straits of Malacca, which from the many advantages it affords to British interests in those seas, may be called the Malta of the east. In occupying this important station, the Agent had to contend, not only against his old enemies the Dutch, but against the Company's government at Penang, who, having failed in their attempts for a similar purpose, thought it right to thwart all his proceedings. Notwithstanding this double opposition, Sir Stamford resolutely persevered, and completely succeeded in the performance of the duty assigned to him. The advantages of the station are now well known, and very highly prized by the Company. It is ainusing to observe the bitter hostility with which the Dutch treated Sir Stamford personally on every occasion. He was in their eyes an evil genius, at whose presence they seemed to feel their empire in the east tremble to its centre.
‘Sir Stamford returned to Bencoolen, and the only event that occurred on the voyage was, the vessel striking on a bank in the Straits of Rhio during the night. It was feared she would not be got off, and a small boat was prepared to endeavour to carry him to Singapore, with the Editor and their child, an infant four months old ; but just as they were leaving the vessel, hopes were entertained that by throwing all the water overboard to lighten the ship she might be got off, and before morning the attempt succeeded. It was then considered fortunate that the accident occurred so near an European Settlement; but on stopping at Rhio and sending in a boat, stating what had happened, and requesting a supply of water, the Dutch Resident refused all intercourse, asserted that Sir Stamford went as a spy, and would not give the assistance solicited; it was, therefore, with considerable anxiety that the voyage was continued; fortunately in passing through the Straits of Banca, a good Samaritan appeared in one of the beautiful American vessels, so numerous in these seas, when the Captain generously, and at considerable risk, for the wind was strong and in his favour, stopped his course, and with great difficulty, by means of ropes, conveyed some casks of water, and went on board himself to inquire into the cause of distress; the captain's name is forgotten, but his kindness has often been acknowledged with gratitude and praise.
It is difficult to convey an idea of the pleasure of sailing through this beautiful and unparallelled Archipelago, in which every attraction of nature is combined; the smoothness of the sea, the lightness of the atmosphere, the constant succession of the most picturesque lake scenery, islands of every shape and size clustered together, mountains of the most