BETWEEN the disappearance of Malacca, as a serious commercial rival, and the rise of Singapore to the position of first importance in Malaya, a good many things happened to which reference must be made for a proper comprehension of succeeding events. Of these happenings the chiefest was the occupation of Pinang in 1786. Let it be remembered that, at that date, the Dutch were still in possession of Malacca, and we had no foothold in the Straits. Our nearest station was Bencoolen, on the east coast of Sumatra. Now Bencoolen, where the East India Company founded a trading station in 1684, is only notable for two incidents in a long but inglorious existence. Its chief value to the Company was that it became a centre for the collection of pepper, and the directors in London wrote to their agent at Bencoolen desiring that the cultivation of white pepper should be encouraged to the exclusion of the black variety. The Board was blissfully ignorant of the fact that the vine produces pepper, and whether it goes to the market black or white depends on whether it is gathered before or after the fruit has ripened. This was pointed out to the authorities in Leadenhall Street, and for a time they were very considerate to their representative in Bencoolen. But they bad their revenge. A serious shortage was discovered in the stock of silver dollars stored In the Bencoolen Trea-
D 33


sury, and the agent reported that, after full inquiry, the loss could only be ascribed to the ravages of white ants. When next the Company had occasion to send stores to Bencoolen they included a parcel of steel files, and, being asked what they were for, the Board replied that they should be used to file the teeth of the white ants !

The Honourable East India Company, doing then a large business with China, had become alive to the value and importance of the trade of the Malay Peninsula and Archipelago, from which the Company was shut out by Dutch exclusiveness. The Company had, therefore, given instructions to several likely men to look out for a suitable spot on which to found a station, the first object aimed at being a good anchorage and place of victualling, watering, and refitting for their vessels engaged in the China trade. One of the persons so commissioned was Mr. Francis Light, a ship-master, who had considerable dealings with the Malay State of Kedah, on the west coast of the Peninsula, about three hundred miles north of Malacca. It appears that in 1771 Mr. Light had suggested to Warren Hastings the desirability of occupying the island of Pinang and the island of Salang (otherwise called Ujong Salang or Ujong Kalang, now corrupted into Junk Ceylon), two islands belonging to Kedah, lying, at some distance apart, off the coast of that State. Although Mr. Hastings favoured the plan, and steps were actually taken, in 1780, to raise a private subscription in order to secure Salang, war with France put a stop to the project In 1786, however, Mr. Light opened negotiations at Kedah (where he was on excellent terms with the Sultan), for the cession of Pinang to the East India Company, and, meeting with a favourable reception to his proposal, he obtained a letter from the Sultan to the Governor-General, with which he proceeded to Calcutta. In a subsequent letter from Pinang, dated 18 June, 1787, addressed to Lord Cornwallis, Mr. Light says : —


"On my arrival at Calcutta (in 1786), I found Mr. Macpherson in the chair, who readily accepted the King of Queda's (i.e. Kedah) offer, but declined taking Salang, as it would have required a greater force than could with any degree of convenience have been sent, . . . Not only the commanders of the British vessels, but foreigners, continually complained of there being no place of safety east of the Bay of Bengal for ships to take shelter in and to refit at. Every one seemed to think it a duty incumbent on the English East India Company, they enjoying the greatest possessions and the readiest means for effecting it."

This time Mr. Light's suggestion was accepted, and he returned to Kedah the bearer of a favourable reply from the Company's chief representative. At Kedah he made his preparations, and on 14 July, 1786, in the afternoon, he sailed from that place and anchored at Pinang the next morning. The following days were spent in landing troops, stores, and guns, in clearing ground, pitching tents, building huts, lining out a fort, and setting up a flagstaff. On 11 August, 1786, Mr. Light hoisted the British flag in the presence of all his people and the captains of two of the Company's ships — the Vansittart and the Valentine — which had arrived the previous day, and he took formal possession of the island by the issue of the following proclamation : —

" These are to certify that agreeable to my orders and instructions from the Honourable Governor-General and Council of Bengal, I have this day taken possession of this Island called Pooloo Pinang now named the Prince of Wales Island, and hoisted the British Colours in the name of His Majesty George the Third and for the use of the Honourable East India Company, this eleventh Day of August, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Six, being the Eve of the Prince of Wales' Birthday,
" In the presence of the underwritten —

There was once a tradition, cherished by lovers of romance, that Light fell in love with and married a daughter of the Sultan of Kedah, and that that potentate gave the island of Pinang to the lady as a marriage portion. There is no foundation for this story. Francis Light was a Suffolk man, and was adopted said educated by a relative named William Negus, of Melton, who died in 1773. Light first joined the Navy ; he was a midshipman on board H.M.S. Arrogant in 1761, but he soon abandoned that service, sailed to the east, obtained the mastership of a trading vessel, and made his headquarters at the island of Salang, where, or in Siam, he probably met the lady who became the mother of his children. This lady is described, in Francis Light's will, as Martina Rozells, and it may be inferred that she was of Portuguese extraction. It is clear from what follows that she had not the remotest connexion with the cession of Pinang to the East India Company, though she no doubt went with Light to Pinang at the time of its occupation, or very shortly afterwards, and died there, but of the date there is no record. When Mr. Light made his first proposal, in 1771, the idea of occupying Pinang and Salang was probably his own ; but between 1780 and 1785 the Government of Bengal turned its attention to the acquisition of a station in the Far East, and from one of Mr. Light's letters it appears that they had already, by some other hand, unsuccessfully sought the island of Pinang from the Sultan of Kedah. Mr. Light, in reporting the result of his negotiations, says: —

" As I understand this Government had made application to the King of Kedah for the island of Pinang without success, with the consent of the Governor-General I made use of the influence and interest I had with the King and Ministry to procure a grant of the island of Pinang to the Honourable Company. The King of Kedah, who now solicits your friendship and alliance, has

sent by me a grant of the island of Pinang, and has annexed to the grant some requests."

Now that was the beginning of a great deal of trouble, of much heart-burning, much shedding of blood, and infinite misery to thousands of entirely innocent people. It was to result in an unprovoked attack on Kedah, when the country was wasted by fire and sword ; the people subjected to barbarous tortures, nameless horrors ; their Sultan, our ally, and many of his subjects driven into perpetual exile, and the country placed under a foreign yoke. The cause of these untoward events was the cowardice of the East India Company, ending in a breach of faith which sullied the British name and weakened its influence with Malays for very many years.

To relate the whole of the circumstances, and quote all the documents necessary for an exact appreciation of the case, would be of interest to very few readers to-day ; but enough of the story must be told to prevent, if that be possible, the repetition of proceedings so damaging to native belief in British honour and good faith. There is another, some think a better, reason for recalling these events, and that is expediency. An opportunity is offered to one generation, and it is declined, or lost, or muddled. But history repeats itself, and not infrequently the opportunity comes again to another generation, and is sometimes again neglected. Our position in the Malay States to-day is such that further mistakes would be inexcusable, though that fact alone is not sufficient to save us from them.

This is the letter from the Sultan of Kedah, containing the conditions on which he was prepared to cede the island of Pinang to the East India Company, and it is well to remember, in reading this and subsequent quotations from documents written at the time or when the events were fresh in men's minds, that apologists for the East India Company contend that the Sultan of Kedah was, and


always had been, a vassal of Siam, and that as such he had no power to cede territory, no right to make treaties, no reason to expect that the Company would either promise or give him protection against the power and probable wrath of his master.

The letter. Written on Tuesday, 24th Shawal A.H. 1199:— 
" Whereas Captain Light, Dewa Raja, came here and informed me that the Raja of Bengal ordered him to request Pulau Pinang from me to make an English Settlement, where the Agents of the Company might reside, for the purpose of trading and building ships of war to protect the island and to cruise at sea, so that if any enemies of ours from the East or the West should come to attack us, the Company would regard them as enemies also and fight them, and all the expenses of such wars shall be borne by the Company. All ships, junks, or prows, large and small, which come from the East or the West and wish to enter the Kedah river to trade, shall not be molested or obstructed, in any way, by the Company, but all persons desirous of coming to trade with us shall be allowed to do as they please ; and at Pulau Pinang the same.

" The articles of opium, tin, and rattans are monopolies of our own, and the rivers Muda, Prai, and Krian are the places from whence tin, rattans, canes, besides other articles, are obtained. When the Company's people, therefore, shall reside at Pulau Pinang, I shall lose the benefit of this monopoly, and I request the Captain will explain this to the Governor-General, and beg, as a compensation for my losses, 30,000 dollars a year, to be paid annually to me as long as the Company reside at Pulau Pinang. I shall permit the free export of all sorts of provisions, and timber for shipbuilding.

" Moreover, if any of the Agents of the Company make loans or advances to any of the Nobles, Chiefs, or Rajas of the Kedah country, the Company shall not hold me

responsible for any such advances. Should any one in this country become my enemy, even my own children, all such shall be considered as enemies also of the Company ; the Company shall not alter their engagements of alliance, so long as the heavenly bodies continue to perform their revolutions ; and when any enemies attack us from the interior, they also shall be considered as enemies of the Company, I request from the Company men and powder, shot, arms large and small, also money for the purpose of carrying on the war, and when the business is settled I will repay the advances. Should these propositions be considered proper and acceptable to the Governor-General, he may send a Confidential Agent to Pulau Pinang to reside ; but if the Governor-General does not approve of the terms and conditions of this engagement, let him not be offended with me. Such are my wishes to be made known to the Company, and this treaty must be faithfully adhered to till the most distant times."

There is no ambiguity about these " terms and conditions," and if Mr. Light had exceeded his instructions, if he had made any promises the Company were not prepared to endorse, this was the time to say so.

In forwarding the proposals of the Sultan of Kedah, Mr. Light added his own remarks, and, referring to the first condition, he wrote : —

" This article comprehends the principal and only reason why the King wishes an alliance with the Honourable Company, and the treaty must be worded with caution, so as to distinguish between an enemy endeavouring or aiming at his destruction or the Kingdom, and one who may simply fall into displeasure with either the King or his Ministers."

The Supreme Government accepted the grant, and addressed Mr. Light in these terms : —


" It has been resolved to accept the King of Kedah's offer to the Company of the harbour and island of Pinang. This Government will always keep an armed vessel stationed to guard the island of Pinang and the coast adjacent belonging to the King of Kedah. The Governor-General and Council, on the part of the English India Company, will take care that the King of Kedah shall not be a sufferer by an English Settlement being formed on the island of Pinang,"

Further, Sir John Macpherson, then Governor-General, wrote to the Sultan in reply to his letter, made no objection to the conditions, accepted the island, and said:

" Your friendly letter containing a grant of Pulau Pinang to the Honourable Company was delivered to me by Captain Francis Light, the 16th February, 1786 Captain Light also made known to me the requests of my friend and brother, which I, having the interest and friendship of my noble friend at heart, have already transmitted to England for the approbation of the King of England and the Honourable English Company. I have likewise ordered a ship of war for the defence of the island and protection of the coast of Kedah."

This also is plain enough, and if any casuist can read two meanings into " the protection of the coast of Kedah," the words have only one for the ordinary intelligence of the plain man.

Mr. Light was authorized to occupy Pinang, and, as we have seen, did so. Only a month later, Mr. Light wrote to the Supreme Government : " The King of Kedah has reason to be afraid of such a tyrant (the King of Siam), and hopes to secure himself by an alliance with the Honourable Company,"

Therefore at the very outset the Company knew that the one condition on which the Sultan was willing to cede Pinang was, that his enemies should be the Company's


enemies, and that they should protect him. They accepted the condition and the protection alike, and their representative in Pinang gave them the particular information that the probable enemy whom the Sultan of Kedah had in his mind was the King of Siam. Further proof of these plain facts may seem needless, but in a letter to the Governor-General, dated 5 October, 1786, Mr. Light says : " I returned for answer " (to a letter the King addressed to him concerning an expected invasion from Siam) " that his best policy is to have as little communication as possible " (with the Burmans and Siamese), " but to put his country in a state of defence, and that while the English are here they will assist him if distressed."

The Governor-General, about the same time, seems to have thought it necessary to record, in a minute, his opinion both as regards the independence of the Sultan of Kedah and the reasons which influenced His Highness in coming to terms. The Governor-General writes : —

"The grant of Pinang seems, in fact, to have been procured by the influence of the principal officer of the King of Kedah, with a view to secure himself a place of retreat against his numerous enemies, and the ostensible object of the King himself in making the grant, originated in the idea of supporting his own independence by the protection of the English, and his attachment to us will either be strengthened or changed into animosity, as that protection is granted or withheld. This protection, however, cannot be effectually given without involving us in disputes with the Burmans or Siamese, the latter of whom are the most powerful,"

This shows that the highest British authority in the East, the one who had authorized the negotiation for Pinang, and accepted the terms without question, fully realized the situation and recognized the independence of Kedah.


Pinang was taken possession of on ii August, 1786, and it was only in January, 1787, that the Supreme Government decided to decline the main condition on which the Sultan of Kedah had consented to the cession. That decision was communicated to Mr. Light in these terms: —

" With respect to protecting the King of Kedah against the Siamese, the Governor-General in Council has already decided against any measures that may involve the Company in military operations against any of the Eastern Princes. It follows, of course, that any acts or promises which may be construed into an obligation to defend the King of Kedah are to be avoided. If, however, Mr. Light can employ the countenance or influence of the Company for the security of the King of Kedah, consistently with these rules, the Governor-General in Council has no objection to his adopting the measure, strictly guarding against any acts or declarations that may involve the honour, credit, or troops of the Company."

So Mr. Light found himself in the position in which other agents of the British Government have been placed, both before his time and since ; but it was rather late for the Company to be particular about its honour and credit.

On 7 May, 1787, nearly a year after the occupation of Pinang, the question of monetary compensation was thus raised in a letter from Mr. Light to the Government of Bengal : —

" There is a necessity for coming to some terms with the King of Kedah while the Siamese and Burmans are upon him ; and I have reason to believe that nothing will be acceptable without Government promising the King protection. This place will be subject to many inconveniences without such an alliance as will oblige the King to furnish the Settlement at all times with provisions, and preventing other European nations from settling in


any other part of his country. Should the Siamese be permitted to take possession of his country, we shall not only find an insolent and troublesome neighbour, but be under the necessity of assisting them in their wars or to go to war with them ourselves. I humbly conceive that it will be easier, and attended with less expense to the Honourable Company, to declare at once the King of Kedah under our protection ; little else than the name of the Company will be wanted ; the longer it is delayed, the greater will appear the consequence of the island, and the more difficulty there will be in fixing a Settlement The Danes, the Dutch, and the French have solicited permission to have only a house in Kedah ; either of them will promise much, and should the King consider himself  aggrieved or disappointed by the English, he may in despair seek for other alliance,"

Finding the argument of right, and the faithful observance of promises, of no avail, Mr. Light pleads the cause of expediency, but with no better success. The Company had secured the island, and they knew that no Malay power could dispossess them, and no attempt would be made to do so. Therefore Mr. Light, who was on the spot, could make the best of it, for, to people in Calcutta, the whole affair was of very trifling importance. From Mr. Light’s point of view, however, the prospect had quite a different aspect. Pinang was a jungle-island with no means of supporting a population, and they depended upon Kedah for almost everything. But the Sultan of Kedah, as the Governor-General had foreseen when he wrote " his attachment to us will either be strengthened, or changed into animosity, as that protection is granted or withheld," now knew that he had lost the island, and the other party to the transaction did not intend to give the consideration for which he had bargained. Therefore he was somewhat outspoken in his expressions of opinion, and began to try if he could find some other power on whom more reliance


could be placed. These proceedings Mr. Light characterized as " duplicity and cunning," and he wrote as follows to Calcutta : —

"I should be extremely sorry, from any ill-grounded apprehension, to put Government to any unnecessary charge or trouble ; but it is impossible to say what may be the intentions of the Siamese. If they destroy the country of Kedah, they deprive us of our great supplies of provisions, and the English will suffer disgrace in tamely suffering the King of Kedah to be cut off". We shall then be obliged to war in self-defence against the Siamese and Malays ; should your Lordship resolve upon protecting Kedah, two companies of Sepoys, with four six-pounder field pieces, a supply of small arms and ammunition, will effectually defend this country against the Siamese, who, though they are a very destructive enemy, are by no means formidable in battle ; and it will be much less expense to give the King of Kedah timely assistance than be obliged to drive out the Siamese after they have possessed themselves of the country."

Mr. Light's appeals, as well to economy as to expediency, fell on deaf ears. Perhaps the Company thought the strength of the force required to maintain the independence of the Sultan, and the open market in Kedah, was under-estimated; probably they were beginning to be annoyed by the whole business. At any rate, they were not prepared to supply the two companies of Sepoys, the four guns, and the small arms, and Mr. Light had to continue his negotiations for a money payment, which, in default of protection, the Sultan was not prepared to accept In July, 1789, after detailing the failure of his various attempts to settle this money question, Mr. Light wrote : —

" Being informed that he did not relish the idea of selling the island, I asked him if he chose to accept four thousand dollars per annum for as long a time as the Honour-

able Company should continue in possession of the island. To this, after waiting a considerable time, he answered in the negative, at the same time by his letters and messengers he endeavoured to draw a full promise, that the Honourable Company would assist him with arms and men in case an attack from the Siamese should render it necessary. This I evaded by telling him no treaty, which was likely to occasion a dispute between the Honourable Company and the Siamese, could be made without approbation of the King of Great Britain."

In 1793, seven years after the occupation of the island, the Home Government sent out this definitive instruction: "No offensive and defensive alliance should be made with the Raja of Kedah." Mr. Light died in the latter part of the same year.

We may assume that the political relations between the Company and the Courts of Burma and Siam were such, that the Supreme Government considered it would be inexpedient to support Kedah against both her enemies, and thus perhaps induce them, always hitherto at feud, to combine against the Company. Pinang had been secured; seven years of occupation had proved its value, and shown that it could be held, without difficulty, by a small garrison against Asiatics; Mr. Light, the original negotiator, was dead; a treaty, which said nothing about offensive or defensive alliances, had been concluded; the promises of 1785 and 1786 were forgotten or ignored; and the Sultan of Kedah might be left to settle accounts with his northern foes, as soon as the conclusion of their mutual quarrels should give them time to turn their attention to him.

As Mr. Light had pointed out, Kedah was safe as long as Siam and Ava believed that an attack on Kedah might involve a trial of conclusions with the British; but when it was publicly given out, that the assistance for which Pinang had been ceded could not be relied upon, would not in fact, be given, then the fate of Kedah became a


mere question of time, the prospective conqueror, whether Siamese or Burman, a matter of chance.

It is perhaps not necessary to push the matter further, except as regards one point, and that is, how the Sultan of Kedah came to consent to two treaties, the first in 1791, and the second in 1800, without stipulating for that provision which, to him, was the sole reason for the cession of Pinang. Neither document provided for the protection of Kedah. By the first engagement the Company undertakes to pay to the Sultan six thousand dollars a year so long as the English remain in possession of Pinang. By the second, called a treaty of friendship and alliance — signed by Sir George Leith, Lieutenant-Governor of Pinang — it is provided, that the Company shall pay to the Sultan ten thousand dollars a year, so long as they occupy Pinang and the strip of territory opposite (now called Province Wellesley), and the Sultan agrees to give to the Company for ever the strip of mainland referred to, which is then roughly defined.

This apparently serious omission on the part of the Sultan need not surprise any one.

If a British officer, accredited by the British Government, makes, during the progress of negotiations with a Malay Raja, any promise on behalf of his Government, it would not occur to the Malay to doubt that such promise would be accepted, and honourably fulfilled by those who sent the envoy. Were such a promise given, and, on the strength of it, territory ceded to the British Government, the acceptance of the cession would be deemed by the Malay the acceptance of the promise, if nothing were then said or written to him, to the effect that his demand could not be complied with.

If, after five years' occupation of such ceded territory, a treaty were concluded, though that treaty did not contain the fulfillment of the promise, the Malay would not consider that the British Government was thereby released from


performing an engagement, on the faith of which the occupation had taken place.

If such a treaty were then, or afterwards, styled "preliminary," and it were necessary to obtain sanction from a distant Government, to important provisions, it is probable the Malay would be told that this particular request of his was still under consideration, and that, when instructions were received from that high and distant authority, a further and permanent treaty would be concluded with him.

Under these circumstances a Malay Raja, dealing with British officers, would accept their advice.

Lastly, if the British, having been in occupation of a strong position for five years, as the friends of a Malay Raja, proposed to conclude with him a treaty which was not all, or any thing, that he could have hoped for, it is difficult to see what the Malay would gain by refusal.

How all these matters appeared to the Sultan of Kedah (successor of him who ceded Pinang to the Company) will be seen from the following letter, addressed by His Highness, on 24 December, 1810, to Lord Minto, Governor-General of India, as he passed through Pinang on his memorable journey to the conquest of Java : —

" In the year 1199 of the Hegira, in the time of my late father, Mr. Light bearing on the head of submission the commands of the King of England, and the orders of the Governor-General, with various splendid presents, appeared in the presence of my late father, the Raja, and requested in the name of the King of England and of the Governor-General, the island of Penang, for the purpose of repairing their ships-of-war, highly extolling the greatness, splendour, power, wisdom, beneficence, of His Majesty, the prosperity of the Honourable Company and all those connected in the ties of friendship with them ; promising that the King and the Governor-General would assist my father in whatever might be required, and


would prevent the enemies of Kedah engaging in proceedings detrimental to the country. Moreover, that they should pay rent for the island 30,000 dollars per annum, and entered into sundry other engagements. My father, consulting with the Ministers, considering that the neighbouring Burman and Siamese nations were more powerful than Kedah and having reflected that the King of Europe (i.e., England) was greater and more powerful than either of those nations, and that by means of the friendship of the English Company, these powers would be prevented from violence or molestation, perceived that it would be very desirable to enter into alliance with the Company, because the Europeans were just and regular in conducting all their affairs, and should the Burman or Siamese powers unjustly attempt violence, the powerful aid and protection of the Company would enable my father to repel the aggression. My father was, therefore, extremely desirous of obtaining the friendship of the Company, under whose powerful shelter and protection, the country might be transmitted to his descendants increased in strength. For this country, being small and deficient in strength, would depend on the power of the Company to repel the attacks of the Siamese and Burmans. My father accordingly, impressed with a sincere desire to obtain the friendship of the Company, granted the island of Penang according to the request of Mr. Light, the Agent for the Governor-General, and a written engagement, containing my father's demands from the Company, was given to Mr. Light, for the purpose of being forwarded to the Governor-General After some time, Mr. Light returned to settle on the island, bringing some Sepoys, and he informed my father that the Governor-General consented to his requests, and had sent people to settle on the island ; that the writing from my father had been transmitted by the Governor-General to Europe, for the purpose of receiving the royal seal and


sanction, and that it would be returned in six months. My father accordingly granted permission to proceed to settle on the island of Penang, and sent his people to assist in the work, and his officers to protect them from the pirates in the commencement My father having waited some time, at the expiration of the year, requested the writing from Mr. Light, who desired him to wait a little ; at the end of six years no authentic writing could be obtained ; he received 10,000 dollars per annum, but Mr. Light refused to fulfill the remainder of his engagements, and in consequence of my father insisting upon having a writing, agreeably to his former stipulation, a misunderstanding arose between Kedah and Penang, after which a new treaty of alliance was concluded. Since that time, many Governors have been placed over Penang, but my father was unable to obtain a writing either from Europe, or from the Governor-General. In the year 1215, my father left the government to my uncle, at which time the Governor of Penang, Sir George Leith, requested the cession of a tract of land on the opposite shore, alleging that the island being small, the Company's people were distressed for procuring timber, and the raising of cattle. My uncle being desirous of removing the uneasiness, granted a tract (of which the boundaries were defined) accordingly, placing entire dependence on the power of the Company to protect and defend him against his enemies, and Sir George Leith made a new treaty, consisting of fourteen articles, and constituting the two as one country. This, and the former treaty, are inscribed on the Company's records. During the whole government of my father and uncle, no injury or molestation of any consequence had been sustained, nor has any one ever offered to send my letter of supplication to the King or to the Governor-General. I consequently desisted, and only communicated with the several Governors of the islands on matters relating to the two countries, but no


certain arrangement from Europe could be heard of, nor could I obtain any assurances on which I could depend.

" Moreover, so long as I have administered the Government of Kedah, during the time of the late King of Siam, his proceedings were just and consistent with former established custom and usage. Since the decease of the King, and the accession of his son to the throne, in the year 1215, violence and severity have been exercised by the Siamese against Kedah, in demands and requisitions exceeding all former custom and usage, and which I cannot support for a length of time. The Rajas of Kedah have been accustomed to submit to the Siamese authority in matters clearly proper and consistent with the established customs of the governments, for the sake of the preservation of the country, being unable to contend with Siam, from the superior number of their people. During my administration, their demands have been beyond measure increased, and heavy services have been required of me, inconsistent with the custom of the country. These, however, I submitted to as far as I have been able, for the sake of the people, and to prevent the danger of a rupture with them ; how many services, unprecedented in former years, have I not performed, and what expenses have I not incurred in carrying into effect their requisitions ! Nevertheless, I cannot obtain any good understanding with them, nor any peace, nor any termination to their injuries and oppressions. They no longer confide in me, and seek to attach blame, alleging that I have joined with the Burmans, with whom this year they have made war, and their intention is to attack Kedah for the purpose of reducing the country under their government. I have in vain endeavoured to avert the enmity of Siam, but without any appearance of success. I have made known to the Governor of Penang, every circumstance with relation to this country and Siam, and have requested his advice and the assistance of


the Company, on which my father relied, because the countries of Kedah and Penang are as one country and as one interest. When, therefore, Kedah is distressed, it cannot be otherwise with Penang. The Governor advised me by all means to avoid coming to a rupture with Siam, alleging that it was not in his power to afford me assistance, for that the Supreme Government in Europe had forbidden all interference in the wars of the neighbouring powers. Perhaps this would be improper with respect to other countries, but Kedah and Penang are much distressed by the labours necessarily imposed to avert the resentment of Siam, and every exertion on my part has been made to prevent coming to a rupture with that power, but I was unable to submit to demands exceeding all former precedent, which induced me to apply to the Governor of Penang for the Company's aid to enable me to repel their demands, for my father having transmitted to me his friendship and alliance with the Company, It would be otherwise a reflection upon the power of the King of England, who is accounted a Prince greater and more powerful than any other. I conceive that the countries of Kedah and Penang have but one interest, and perhaps the King and my friend may not have been well informed, and in consequence the Governor of Penang has not been authorised to afford assistance, and that should they be acquainted therewith, they would consider it impossible to separate the two countries. In consequence, I request my friend to issue directions, and to forward a representation to the King and to the Honourable Company, of the matters contained in this letter. I request that the engagements contracted by Mr. Light with my late father, may be ratified, as my country and I are deficient in strength ; the favour of His Majesty the King of England extended to me, will render his name illustrious for justice and beneficence, and the grace of his Majesty will (ill me with gratitude ; under the power and

Majesty of the King, I desire to repose in safety from the attempts of all my enemies, and that the King may be disposed to kindness and favour towards me, as if I were his own subject, that he will be pleased to issue his commands to the Governor of Penang to afford me aid and assistance in my distresses and dangers, and cause a regulation to be made by which the two countries may have but one interest ; in like manner I shall not refuse any aid to Penang, consistent with my ability. I further request a writing from the King, and from my friend, that it may remain as an assurance of the protection of the King, and descend to my successors In the government I place a perfect reliance in the favour and aid of my friend in all these matters." 
I have not succeeded in ascertaining what answer was sent to the Raja, but that letter, addressed to the highest authority then known to the Malays, would appear to the Raja to exhaust his efforts at redress. An adverse reply would be conclusive of the futility of further representations. 
It was not till 1821 that the Siamese found leisure to attend to Kedah ; then the attack was sudden, the cruelties perpetrated barbarous to a degree, and the rout of the Malays complete. Without the slightest warning a large fleet of boats loaded with Siamese suddenly appeared in the Kedah river and landed at a fort, where they were civilly received. Several of the principal Kedah chiefs were present, and a large number of the Siamese having landed, their leaders threw off the mask, told the chiefs they had come to seize them, and they must submit to be bound. The Malays at once shouted, " We are betrayed, let us attack them furiously," and fell upon the Siamese, but were immediately cut down. The Siamese then proceeded up river, carrying fire and sword wherever they went ; killing the men, outraging the women, pillaging, torturing, destroying all over the land. The Raja of


Kedah himself escaped with the greatest difficulty, and after infinite privations made his way into Province Wellesley and thence by water to Pinang, where he was hospitably received and well treated by the Governor. Not satisfied with their work in Kedah, the Siamese pushed on to Perak, attacked and subdued the people of that State, and made preparations to continue their conquests in Selangor. The Sultan of Selangor was, however, prepared for them, and, in face of his reputation and determined attitude, the Siamese decided to withdraw their forces and returned to Ligor, the Southern Siamese State, from which they had started. The Sultan of Kedah died in exile, while his favourite son was captured and sent in bonds to Siam. The principal minister was also captured, and after being kept in chains in Kedah for a long time, was carried away and poisoned on the road to Senggora.

These particulars and an immense number of other details were collected and published in the form of a pamphlet, under the authority of the Government of Pinang, by Mr. John Anderson, secretary to that Government, in the year 1824. Immediately after its publication the pamphlet was recalled and so carefully suppressed that Mr. Anderson was obliged to give his word of honour that he had act retained a single copy. One copy did, however, escape, and was republished in a Straits newspaper in 1835 ; this publication having become equally scarce, the paper was reprinted, in 1854, in the Journal of the Eastern Archipelago, of which very few complete copies are now in existence.

The only question which remains is whether Kedah, in 1786, owed any allegiance to Siam, or was subject to the control of that kingdom. It would be easy to give many proofs to the contrary, bat one is sufficient The East India Company negotiated with the Sultan of Kedah as an independent ruler in 1786, and made an arrangement


with him for a cession of territory. The Company made treaties with the Sultan to confirm this arrangement in 1791, and again, in 1800, for the cession of a considerable territory on the mainland and it was not till 1821 that the Siamese made an unprovoked and treacherous attack on the Malay State These facts seem to prove the Sultan's absolute independence.

In the early history of Pinang there is one point of special interest to which reference should be made. It has been customary to give Sir Stamford Raffles the credit for insisting that Singapore should be a free port from its very foundation as a British Settlement That birthright has been the main source of the extraordinary prosperity of this great eastern market, and no doubt Sir Stamford Raffles was responsible for this policy in regard to Singapore. It was not, however, a new idea in the British Settlements in Malaya in the year 1819, for when Raffles was still in the nursery, Sir John Macpherson, then Governor-General of India, wrote as follows to Mr. Light, in regard to Pinang, only six months after the occupation of that island : —

" If the situation is favourable, the merchants will find their advantages in resorting with their goods to it, and as an inducement to them, we desire you will refrain from levying any kind of duties or tax on goods landed or vessels importing at Prince of Wales Island, and it is our wish to make the port free to all nations."

A year later another Governor-General asked Mr. Light how he proposed to meet the growing expenses of maintaining the Pinang administration. Mr. Light took six months to consider the matter, and then suggested, amongst other taxes, the following duties : —

5. That a duty of 4 per cent be levied upon all India goods imported on foreign vessels.

6. That a duty of 4 per cent be levied upon all goods

imported on Choolia vessels not immediately from any of the Company's Settlements.

7. That a duty of 6 per cent be levied upon all China goods without distinction.

8. That a duty of 6 per cent be levied upon all tobacco, salt, arrack, sugar, and coarse cloths the produce or manufacture of Java or any other Dutch possession to the eastward.

9. That a duty of 6 per cent be levied upon all Europe articles imported by foreign ships unless the produce or manufacture of Great Britain.

Mr. Light evidently did not like his own proposals, for he added : —

"To levy a general duty on all goods which come to this port would defeat the intention of Government in making remittances to China by the barter of the manufactures of India for the produce of those countries. The present situation of the surrounding kingdoms, distracted by foreign and civil wars which deprive their inhabitants of the privilege of bringing the produce of their lands to this port, added to the various impediments thrown into the way of the English trade by the Dutch, who prevent the China junks and the Malay and Bugis prows from passing Malacca, while by threats they cause some of the Malay States and by force oblige others to desist from trading with the English, are obstacles too great to admit of the levying with success any general duties. . . . Few colonies, I believe, in America or the West Indies were capable of making returns in the course of seven years from their settling, and this island, it appears to me, ought to be treated as a colony, and the expense of maintaining it drawn from the lands and not from the trade, which should be encouraged as much as possible while subject to so many inconveniences, to the end that the export of manufactures of the Company's territories in India may


be extended, and the remittances to China by the sale of these manufactures increased."

The approval of Government was given to Mr. Light's proposals for raising revenue, but the effect of the import duties was so unsatisfactory that they were abolished one by one, and Pinang became again, and remains to this day, a free port to all nations as originally decreed by Sir John Macpherson.

While following up this record of the foundation of Pinang, so little flattering to our national pride, we have got far beyond the date (1795) when England first entered into possession of Malacca, and have even passed the occupation of Singapore in 1819. The reader will understand that it is practically impossible to keep in constant touch with three Settlements like Malacca, Pinang, and Singapore, none of which were in our possession in 1785. One became ours in 1786, and is so still ; one we captured in 1795, restored in 1801, occupied for the second time in 1807, gave up in 1818, and again took it over in March, 1825, in exchange for Bencoolen and other ports in Sumatra, while we occupied the third in 1819 and have kept it ever since. For a time these Settlements were rivals, under different and independent control, but all subject to a supreme authority in Calcutta; then they became united as one Presidency, under a Government which itself must needs change, from the Honourable East India Company to the Government of India. Finally they were severed from Indian control, took rank as three Settlements forming one Crown Colony, under a governor, who was also commander-in-chief and vice-admiral within the borders of his own administration.

To maintain continuity it is necessary to return for a moment to Malacca. This place surrendered, in August, 1795, to the expedition under command of Captain Newcome, of the Orpheus, and Major Brown, of the East India Company's Service. From that time till its second


restoration to the Dutch in 1818, only two occurrences need be mentioned. In 1807, the ancient fortifications of Malacca, built by Albuquerque and strengthened by the Dutch, valued by the British Resident, Colonel Farquhar, at 700,000 Spanish dollars — that is, about £150,000 — were destroyed. One writer places the cost of destruction at 260,000 rupees, and another at £70,000). In either case it was enormous, perfectly needless, and an act of unforgivable vandalism.

The other notable event, during the second occupation of Malacca by the British was that Lord Minto chose this place as the rendezvous for the British force which captured Java in 1811. It was there that Raffles met the Governor- General ; there that plans were discussed and all preparations made, and from there, on the strong advice of Raffles, the fleet sailed by a route which the sailors considered risky and unwise, but the event proved that Raffles was right In the Stadt House at Malacca there hung until recently a very interesting portrait of Lord Minto, which was probably painted about this time, for the background is unquestionably the old town of Malacca, but little changed from the appearance of the place as seen to-day.

None of the many English writers who have dealt with Malacca and its changeful and romantic history, appear to mention this eventful gathering for the conquest of Java. Less than a year after the first occupation of Malacca by the British, there was born there a Malay boy, named Abdullah, the son Abdulkadir, who in time became a Malay writer in the office of Colonel Farquhar, the Resident and Commandant When this boy was about fifteen years of age, Raffles and his wife came to Malacca, to prepare for the arrival of Lord Minto. Raffles was soon attracted to the Malay boy, and made great use of him as a scribe. Thirty years later, at Raffles' request, Abdullah wrote a book of over four hundred pages, called the Hikaiat


Abdullah, Abdullah's history, in which the writer tells, with great accuracy and detail, the story of his own life. Raffles inspired in the boy a very strong admiration and affection, and three chapters of the book are devoted to a minute description of Raffles' proceedings in Malacca ; the arrival of the transports with the troops ; the landing of the men, guns, and horses ; the camp life and the amazement of the good people of Malacca at the sight of so many strange warriors with their peculiar caste prejudices. He describes a regiment of three hundred Indian horsemen, who rode without reins in order that they might be able to use the very numerous weapons with which they were armed, and tells how he went to see them at exercise ; and when the show was over, the English officer in command, who was quartered near the ground, disdained to ride through the gate of the garden surrounding his house, but preferred to jump his horse over the fence, to the great delight of an immense crowd of spectators. Abdullah says that this delightful person — whose name alas ! is lost — invariably came on to parade over the fence and returned by the same way — conscious, no doubt, of the admiration he excited. There need be no shadow of doubt as to the performance, but Abdullah says the fence was seven cubits high, and one may be permitted to wonder what was the length of the cubit Abdullah's inquiring mind impelled him to make a personal visit to the camp of these horse-soldiers, and this is the account of the visit: — "I asked them. 'Where did the English bring you from ? ' And they replied, ' We are all from Delhi, the Nabab's men. The English came there and asked for men, and the Nabab gave three hundred of us. There are thousands of our companions still left there, all horse soldiers like ourselves.' Then I said, 'What are your wages per month?' And they answered, 'The Nabab pays us three hundred Sicca rupees a month, per man, and the English pay us the same amount, and they have


promised us that if they take Java, they will give us a present in addition to our wages’." No doubt these Indian warriors could not resist the temptation of magnifying their importance by enormously exaggerating the rate of their pay.

A Malay, born in the Malacca of 1796, after nearly three hundred years of European domination, is not quite the same being as a Malay whose people never saw a white face ; his point of view is different, but still it is interesting, and I have therefore translated the following passage from a chapter which Abdullah calls " Concerning Lord Minto." The Malay historian describes the arrival of the Governor-General in " a very swift black ship, low in the water, flying a special flag at the main." He tells of the landing, the quantities of troops paraded, the salutes, the bands, the whole populace in attendance ; and here, evidently written from the heart, is Lord Minto, as he appeared to one of the vast crowd of Malays who respectfully welcomed His Excellency to the Malacca of early Malay enterprise, the Malacca of Albuquerque, the Malacca which, with the departure of this great expedition, was to sink into the obscurity of those whose day is done.

" When I saw Lord Minto, and how he bore himself, I was amazed. For I had imagined to myself what he would be like, his height, his appearance, his dress. Then I thought of the Malay proverb which says, ' fair fame is better than a fine appearance,' and I bit my finger. To me he appeared to be a man of middle age, with a spare figure, charming manners, and a pleasant countenance. I said to myself that I did not think he could lift so much as 30 lbs. He wore a dark coat and dark trousers, and beyond that there was nothing to remark in his dress. And all the great men who were there to welcome him stood a long way off; and not one of them dared to offer his hand, they only raised their hats and perspired. Then the commander of the soldiers shouted an order, and every


musket was brought to the salute. And as he (Lord Minto) came forward, he looked to left and right, and bowed to either hand, and then walked slowly through the guard of honour, while the guns kept thundering the salute, and he never ceased raising his hand in courteous acknowledgment of salutations. I could not see in him the slightest trace of hauteur or self-importance, he simply bowed without affectation, and regarded every one pleasantly. And as he came to a great crowd of people they saluted him ; and he stopped for a moment and raised his hand, to acknowledge the welcome of all those poor folk — Chinese, Malays, Tamils, and Eurasians — and he smiled as be returned their greeting. How the hearts of all God's servants expanded with joy, and how the people prayed for blessings on Lord Minto, when they saw how he bore himself, and how well he knew the way to win affection. Then I had a momentary hesitation, because I remembered the Malay proverb which says : ' Even though a snake passes close by the root of the tree which contains a cure against his bite, he does not lose his venom.' There is also a Chinese proverb which says : ' It is not the water in the full bucket which splashes about and makes a noise, it is that of the bucket which is only half full.' And so it is with great men. In these days the servants who wait at table have no rank, but their arrogance is lofty as Heaven. If a poor man, like myself, bids them good day, even three or four times, they pretend they do not see him. How much more is this the case when they have arrived at carriage rank I As children say, ' If you give a monkey a flower he has no idea what to do with it, he simply pulls it to pieces and drops it on the ground.' Moreover, Malays say, 'However high the white padi bird may soar, he perches eventually on the back of a buffalo ' ; and however great men may become, in the end they go down into the dust.

" I make, however, ten thousand apologies to the great


man of whom I am writing. Let no one who reads this book think that I have written in envy, or depreciation of any one ; but we live on earth for a day or two, and if we do well, people speak well of us, if evil, the opposite. The Malays say : ' A tiger dies and leaves his stripes ; an elephant dies and leaves his bones ; a man dies and leaves his name, to those who come after him.' But to get back to Lord Minto. After waiting a moment, to return the salutations, he walked on slowly, bowing to the people, until he reached the Stadt House and entered it. Then all the great people of Malacca, and all the great amongst those recently arrived, went to meet him ; and I noticed that amongst all those distinguished people it was Mr. Raffles who was bold enough to approach him, the others sat a long way off. A few moments later every one who had entered and met the Governor-General withdrew, and returned to their own quarters. Then the troops fired three volleys in succession, and they also returned to their camp."

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