IN January, 1819, there were about 150 inhabitants on the island of Singapore ; a few of them were aborigines and the rest people who had accompanied the Dato' Temenggong when he settled there eight years earlier. The Malays lived in boats and miserable huts on the left bank of the Singapore River, and they are supposed to have made a livelihood by piracy ; the place was quite uncultivated and covered by jungle, though Raffles, in an exuberance of enthusiasm, wrote that he could trace the fortifications of the ancient citadel, destroyed about six hundred years earlier. The supposed site of this citadel was a small hill (now called Fort Canning) on the left bank of the Singapore River, about a quarter of a mile from the shore. It was entirely overgrown, was called " the Forbidden Hill," and was treated by the Malays with superstitious veneration, as the spot once occupied by the palace of the Raja of Singapore. When cleared of jungle, it was found that there were a number of fruit trees on the hill, the stone foundations of buildings long destroyed, and also some very ancient Malay graves. So far as can now be ascertained, these were, with one exception, the only vestiges of Singapore's former inhabitants. The exception was a curious
Page 78

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stone found at the mouth of the river, when the right bank was cleared and levelled to prepare it for the site of the present town. A passing reference has already been made to this stone, but, having regard to its unique historic interest, it is well to translate Abdullah's contemporary description of the finding, and subsequent treatment, of this ancient relic. He writes : — 
" At that time there was found, at the end of the point, buried in jungle, a smooth, square-sided stone, about six feet long, covered with chiselled characters. No one could read the characters, for they had been exposed to the action of the sea water for God knows how many thousands of years. When the stone was discovered people of every race went in crowds to see it The Hindus said the writing was Hindi, but they could not read it The Chinese said it was Chinese. I went with Sir Stamford Raffles and the Reverend Mr. Thompson and others, and to me it seemed that the letters resembled Arabic letters, but I could not decipher them, owing to the ages during which the stone had been subject to the rise and fall of the tides. Numbers of clever people came to read the inscription ; some brought soft dough and took an impression, while others brought black ink and smeared it over the stone in order to make the writing plain. Every one exhausted his ingenuity in attempts to ascertain the nature of the characters and the language, but all without success. So the stone remained where it lay, with the tide washing it every day. Then Sir Stamford Raffles decided that the writing was in the Hindi character, because the Hindus were the first people to come to these parts, to Java, Bali, and Siam, whose people are all descended from Hindus. But not a man in Singapore could say what was the meaning of the words cut on that stone; only God knows. And the stone remained there till Mr. Bonham became1 Governor of Singapore, 
  1 1837-43.


Pinang, and Malacca. At that time Mr. Colman was the Government Engineer at Singapore, and he, sad to tell, broke the stone. In my opinion it was a very improper thing to do, but perhaps it was due to his stupidity and ignorance, and because he could not understand the writing that he destroyed the stone. It never occurred to him that there might be others more clever than himself who could unravel the secret ; for I have heard that there are those, in England, who are able to read such a riddle as this with ease, whatever the language, whoever the people who wrote it. As the Malays say; 'What you can't mend, don't destroy.'

It almost passes belief that the only existing clue to the very early history of Singapore should have been ruthlessly and quite needlessly destroyed, but so it is. The stone was deliberately blown to pieces ; a few of the fragments were collected by some of the more intelligent Europeans and placed in Government buildings, from whence they were eventually sent to the Asiatic Society's Museum in Calcutta.

Lieutenant Begbie, writing in 1834, gives it as his opinion, that this stone is the one referred to in a story in the Malay Annals describing a contest of strength between a Singapura Samson, named Badang, and a rival from the Coromandel coast Badang won the contest, and the annalist says that when Badang died, and was buried at the mouth of the Singapura River, the Coromandel King sent two stones to mark his grave. Lieutenant Begbie suggested that this was one of them.

It appears, however, that besides the fragments, a rubbing of the unbroken stone had reached Calcutta. The wise men there gave up the attempt to decipher the inscription, but offered a pious opinion that it was written in Javanese, before the conversion of the Malays to Muhammadanism.

The conclusion is not very satisfying, but as there seems to be no means of raising the veil and getting at the

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secret, we come back to the fact that Singapore, when Raffles fixed upon it as the place for his new station, was a jungle-covered island with 150 inhabitants whose business was, probably, piracy. It is almost impossible at this date to realize the bondage in which the Straits of Malacca, and especially the Johore Strait, were held by pirates, not only in 1820, but even in 1840 and later. Abdullah says that the skulls of hundreds of victims of piracy were, in 1819, floating in the waters of Singapore harbour, and were collected and disposed of by the orders of Colonel Farquhar. The accounts of piracies and the measures taken, in the next twenty years, to put down the practice, are one long record of murder and robbery, the capture and sale of boys and girls, women and children, with severe measures of repression. The pirates often mistook the vessels of war for traders, and when too late they discovered their mistake, they seem to have fought with a desperate courage which almost invariably resulted in their annihilation. When Raffles left the East, the question of piracy was one which he pressed upon the most earnest attention of the Resident in Singapore, and nothing but a perusal of the official records of the time could convey any real idea of the extent of the evil, or the years that it took to eradicate it.

Meanwhile, in spite of this great difficulty, Singapore grew and prospered ; while the older settlements, Malacca and Pinang, the latter severely handicapped against its free-trade rival, were a serious charge on the resources of the East India Company. In 1825 the three settlements became a Presidency of India, and In 1827 Lord William Bentinck, the then Governor-General, visited them in order to look into matters. He declared that he could not see what Pinang was like for the number of cocked hats which shut out the view, so he reduced the establishments, abolished the duties, and reorganized the Government From 1829 the Straits ceased to be a Presidency


and were placed under the Government of Bengal, but in 1851 they passed to the control of the Supreme Government of India, and so remained until they became a colony in 1867.

When Raffles left Singapore, in l824, the population of the settlement was stated to be about 10,000, and the tonnage of the shipping 75,000. Newbold, writing in 1839, gives the following figures as the revenue and expenditure of the three Settlements in the years 1835-6, but the expenditure does not include the cost of either the military or the convict establishments, so the annual loss must have been very considerable:

The tonnage of the Singapore shipping for the same year was returned as 200,000 tons. In eleven years, therefore, Singapore had trebled its population and almost trebled its trade, while in proportion to its population it was earning a far larger revenue than either of the other Settlements. The main source of revenue was an excise duty on the sale of opium and spirits, and in order to save the Government the trouble and expense of collecting and protecting this revenue, it was farmed out for a term of years to the highest bidders, so that the preparation of the raw opium for sale by retail dealers, the issue of licences to sell, and the whole trade in opium within the Straits Presidency, became a monopoly, held almost invariably by Chinese. In the earliest days of Singapore there was

1 It is impossible to avoid giving values in rupees and dollars, though, when it could be done with certainty, the sterling equivalent is also stated. The sterling value of both rupees and dollars has so constantly varied that, in many cases, such for instance as the cost of railways spread over many years and paid for in dollars, the amount cannot be rendered into sterling with accuracy.

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also a farm of the right to maintain public gambling establishments, but Sir Stamford Raffles set his face against this method of raising revenue, and he was supported by the majority of the European mercantile community. The Company was not so anxious to suppress a practice which had long been countenanced in Pinang, but Raffles' advice was adopted in 1829, Since that time, the question has been repeatedly argued and the weight of dispassionate opinion held that Sir Stamford Raffles was, in this instance, mistaken, and that the reasons he put forward in support of his views were neither sound nor logical. The fact remains that gambling in the Straits was prohibited, and has remained so, though the practice has been recognized and legalized in most of the neighbouring colonies of other nations, and in all independent States.

By the year 1864 the revenue of the Settlements had risen to £192,000, and the civil expenditure to £114,932, with a military charge of £81,073 in addition. Two-thirds of the revenue were derived from the excise farms, £26,000 from stamp duties, and only £6705 from lands and forests. The Governor's salary was £4200 (though the Governor of Pinang, many years earlier, had been in receipt of £9000 a year), and the principal item of expenditure was the cost of constructing certain land defences which, at the time of their building, were recognized to be useless, and were of necessity abandoned.

During the period now so briefly reviewed, from 1825 to 1867, nothing of any importance occurred in Malacca beyond a difference with a very small border State called Naning. This quarrel resulted in the dispatch of two small military expeditions, which took many months to accomplish, at a cost of a million rupees, or £100,000, what should have been done in a week. The business began in August, 1831, and was completed in May, 1832, the troops taking ten weeks to cover the last twelve miles


Of a march which was only twenty-two miles from the town of Malacca.

In Pinang there was no occurrences of any importance ; but just as the founding of this Settlement had taken much of the trade from Malacca, so, with the opening of a free port at Singapore under the enlightened direction of Raffles, Pinang lost much of her trade and prosperity. Indeed, it was freely and constantly stated in the fifties not only that Pinang was a financial failure, but that it was ridiculous to suppose that the Settlement could ever be self-supporting. Even in the seventies it was still held that Singapore surpluses paid for the deficiencies of Pinang and Malacca, though the people of Pinang declined to subscribe to that theory, the difference of opinion resting mainly on the apportionment of military and civil charges paid by the colony as a whole.

From the smallness of the land revenue, it will be understood that no great progress had been made in the cultivation of the soil. This was mainly owing to the extraordinarily illiberal land policy of the East India Company and its officers. In Singapore, however, with the poorest soil, the greatest efforts had been made and the largest success achieved. That was only for a very short time: Partly owing to the fact that three successive crops practically exhausted the land, and partly because of a blight which destroyed the spice trees, cultivation on anything like an extensive scale came to a sudden end, and the Chinese, who had been engaged in this industry, passed across the narrow Strait which divided the island from the mainland of Johore. When Singapore was occupied, in 1819, it had no permanent inhabitants, and there was not an acre of cultivation on the island. It was the same in Johore, and that place obtained its first cultivators from Singapore, and grew to prosperity simply by reason of its proximity to the English Settlement

The reader will remember that Raffles made his first

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treaty with the Temenggong of Johore (a high officer of the Sultan), who, for his own reasons, happened to be on the island when Raffles arrived. The treaty was signed by the Temenggong, on his own account and on behalf of the Sultan of Johore, his master. Raffles sent to Rhio for the rightful claimant to this title, acknowledged him as Sultan, and made a new treaty with both Sultan and Temenggong, agreeing to pay certain allowances to each of them. In the course of time both these Malays died, and while the Temenggong 's son immediately succeeded his father and was recognized by the Indian Government, that authority declined to recognize as Sultan of Johore the son of the man whom their own officer had, with their full approval, invested with the title. It is not a nice story, and it has never been told, yet it is necessary for the purposes of this book to give it The East India Company is dead, but it is impossible to observe, in regard to that body, the kindly injunction, de mortuis nil nisi bonum. We have seen how that Company behaved to the Sultan of Kedah, to Mr. Light, and to Sir Stamford Raffles ; their treatment of Tunku Ali was no better, though in his case there were local influences which helped to his destruction. The tale, if it were all told, is a long one ; so I will spare the reader the proof of every statement, the quotation of all the authorities, and give the facts as shortly as possible, merely remarking that they are the result of weeks of incessant work, searching for and examining long-forgotten documents in the archives of Government offices.

Colonel Butterworth was Governor of the Straits from 1843 to 1855, and during the latter part of his rule considerable friction had arisen between the Temenggong Ibrahim and Tunku Ali, the son and heir of Sultan Husein of Johore. Colonel Butterworth went on leave to Australia in November, 1851, returning in November, 1853, and during his absence Mr. Blundell, the Resident Councillor of Pinang, an officer with great local experience, officiated for him.


It is necessary to remember that the Sultan Husein of Johore, and the Dato' Temenggong, were living in Singapore as pensioners of the East India Company, because, as Johore was quite uninhabited, they had only a few personal followers, no subjects, and no revenues.

Dato' Temenggong Abdulrahman died in 1825, and was immediately succeeded by his second son Ibrahim, though the office of Temenggong in a Malay State is not necessarily an hereditary office. Sultan Husein died in 1835, and, though his eldest son, Tunku Ali, repeatedly asked that the Government of Bengal should recognize him as Sultan of Johore, the request was ignored or refused ; but a proclamation was issued in 1840 recognizing him as his father's successor " in every respect." That concession was evidently counted as of no value, and though Tunku Ali's case seems to have been urged on the Government, they replied with a curt negative on the ground that there was no plea of expediency. The plea was one of justice, and involved nothing but the title to which Tunku Ali had an undisputed claim. When, however, the spice plantations of Singapore failed, between 1835 and 1840, and Chinese began to settle in Johore, then, for the first time, that State developed a present and prospective value as a revenue-producing property, and it became a matter of considerable moment to whom the revenue should be paid.

On 21 October, 1S46, Governor Butterworth wrote as follows to the Under-Secretary to the Government of Bengal : —  

" I cannot ascertain that any revenue is or ever has been derived from the territory of Johore, either by the late or present Sultan and Temenggong, beyond a trifling duty on timber — which is irregularly collected by the latter chief — but the late emigration of the Chinese to the opposite coast has induced the opium farmer to enter into an agreement with the Temenggong to extend the farm to that Settlement on payment to him of $300 per mensem, as reported in my letter under date the 14 September last,

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No. 138, which I think should be equally divided between the Temenggong and Sultan, and I will, if the Honourable the Deputy-Governor of Bengal approve of it, endeavour to carry this arrangement into effect.

" I have little doubt that I could bring the Temenggong and the Bandahara of Pahang to accede to the young Sultan's formal installation, but the ceremony consequent on such an event would cost a considerable sum of money for which Tunku Ali would look to the Government, as also for the means of supporting the dignity of his new position which neither his outward bearing nor his intellectual capacity would enable him to do against the powerful influence of the Temenggong of Johore."

It is noticeable here that the Governor styles Tunku Ali " the Sultan ", that he says the small revenue of Johore had hitherto been irregularly collected by the Temenggong, that the Governor thought the £800  a year offered by the farmer should be equally divided between the Sultan and the Temenggong, and that the latter was a person with " powerful influence:" This influence could only have been derived from Europeans.

At the same time, precisely 25 August, 1846, the Resident Councillor of Singapore wrote to the Governor : —

" The Temenggong appears to exercise exclusive and supreme control over the dominions of Johore. This arises in consequence of Tunku All not having been regularly installed and recognized as Sultan."

There was no plea of "expediency," nothing for the Company to gain, by acknowledging Tunku Ali as Sultan ; quite the contrary ; for it was pointed out that his pension or allowance amounted to $115 a month, about £300 a year, and that he would not be able to support his title, his family, and his followers on that income. Therefore the Company turned a deaf ear to the representations of its officers.

In 1853 Mr. E. A Blundell was officiating as Governor, and he appears to have gone very carefully into this question. On 30 July he wrote as follows to the Government of India: —

" I deem it my duty to request that yon will lay before the most noble the Governor-General of India in Council the subject of our present relations with the Chiefs of the country of Johore, of which the island of Singapore was at one time a dependency. My object in so doing is to endeavour to obtain a final settlement of various conflicting rights and claims, regarding which the present disputes are causing violent family quarrels, and seem to me to tend towards disruption and bloodshed in the State. 
" 2, The first question calling for decision is the claim of Tunku Ali, son of the late Sultan of Johore, to be installed as Sultan of that country. The two Princes (the Sultan and Temenggong of Johore) who signed the Treaty of 2 August, 1824, with Mr. J. Crawford, are both dead. The eldest son of the Sultan was a minor at the time the death of his father, while the eldest1 son of the Temenggong was, soon after his father's death, duly installed in the office of Temenggong. In 1846 Tunku Ali eldest surviving son of the Sultan, applied to be acknowledged and installed as Sultan, and his application was transmitted to Government by Colonel Butterworth, with a letter dated 21 October, 1846, to which the reply of 23 January, 1847, was to the effect that unless some political advantage could be shown to accrue from the measure the Honourable the President in Council declined to adopt it.

" 3. I am not prepared to state that any political advantage would accrue at the present time from acknowledging Tunku Ali as the Sultan of Johore, but I certainly think it impolitic to allow such an apparently clear and undisputed claim to remain any longer in abeyance.

1 It was the second son.

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"The Malayan laws of hereditary succession are burdened with many restrictions and conflicting rights and interests of other parties, which render it in some measure elective. Certain high officers of the State must concur in acknowledging the claim of a successor, who of course finds it necessary to bind them to his interests by handsome presents and promises for the future. Until the sanction and approval of these State officers be obtained, no claim to the ' Musnud' is, in theory, held valid, and the natural consequence is that, in all Malayan States, when the supreme authority is weakened, the hereditary succession is attended with disputes and bloodshed. In the case of Johore, the succession to the Sultanship requires the sanction of the Temenggong and the Bendahara. Of these two great officers, the first, the Temenggong, is a pensioner, and is dependent on the British Government, being the son of him who signed the Treaty of 1824 with Mr. Crawford, and receiving an allowance of $350 a month for himself and his father's family. It would appear that the Governorship of Johore, under the Sultan, is, or was, an hereditary appanage of the Temenggong, and in virtue of this, the present man, while residing wholly at Singapore, has administered the Government of Johore and possessed himself of the entire revenue of the country, preventing (and in some instances forcibly) the young Sultan from exercising any of the rights of sovereignty. . . .

" 5. I cannot deny that It seems better for our interests that the rule over the country of Johore should remain, as at present, wholly in the hands of the Temenggong. Owing to the notice extended towards him by the Government of the Straits, and by the Mercantile community of Singapore, he has become comparatively civilized, and is undoubtedly superior to the young Sultan in the capacity to govern the country of Johore in subservience to British interests, but I am bound to state it as my


opinion that if the same degree of notice bad been extended towards Tunku Ali, both by the Government and the community of Singapore, that is, had he in his youth been taken by the band, his vices discouraged and his good qualities fostered, he would have proved himself as good a ruler, and as valuable an ally, as the Temenggong. As it is, I agree with the resident Councillor at Singapore, in thinking that much confusion and trouble may ensue from recognizing him as the Sultan, but still I am impressed with the injustice of disregarding the claims of the son of the Prince from whom we obtained the island of Singapore, simply because it is less trouble-some, and perhaps more advantageous to us, that the rule should continue in the hands of a subordinate officer. . . . I doubt not that, at the instance of the British Government, the two great officers will do immediately what is required of them without insisting on the receipt of the customary presents. . . .

" 7. . . . It consists of a letter addressed to me by Tunku Ali which was transmitted to the Resident Councillor at Singapore, whose reply embodies the objections that may be urged against the recognition of Tunku Ali as Sultan. These objections seem founded solely on expediency, but I think myself if the principle of Justice towards all parties be recognized and followed, the evils that may result from the change of policy will soon be overcome.

"8. . . . But if the Governor-General of India in Council should be pleased to think that, in justice towards this young Prince, we are bound to see him so installed, the expression of such an opinion, on the part of the Supreme Government of India, will remove most of the difficulties.

" 9. . . . The present Temenggong who administers the affairs of the country (Johore) and enjoys the whole revenue, lives at Singapore as a British subject . . ."

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Mr. Blundell's appeal to the Government of India's sense of justice met with an unfavourable reply, but he returned to the charge with a letter dated 14 January, 1853, and the following are the most important paragraphs ; —

" I have communicated to Tunku Ali, the son of the late Sultan of Johore, the decision of the Government of India not to interfere in installing him in his father's place as Sultan. . . .

" Granting that the Sultan brought forward to sign the Treaty of 1824 was a nullity, and that the whole Government of the country rested with the Temenggong, still we recognized a Sultan of Johore and paid to him considerably more money than to the Temenggong. The consequence of this is that the son of the Sultan claims a higher position and superior power to the son of the Temenggong. This claim is recognized by many of the natives of the country ; there is natural veneration for the title of Sultan, and among the European community of Singapore, where the rights and claims of both parties are much discussed, I am inclined to think that the only point in favour of the Temenggong is that he has been longer known to the community, has become familiar with many, and has allowed his sons to acquire a taste for English habits, manners, and dress. The Temenggong, who for fifteen years since his installation has ruled the country of Johore and enjoyed all its revenues, lives in Singapore as a British subject These revenues arise chiefly from the proximity of his country to Singapore and the consequent extension to it of our peculiar Excise laws. . . . But it appears to me unjust that one family should enjoy all the pecuniary advantages of this safe and easy mode of Government to the exclusion of the family of the Sultan. ... I have therefore recommended to the Temenggong that, provided Tunku Ali will engage not to interfere at any time with the Government of the country, he


should agree to clear the way for his installation as Sultan, and make over to him half the revenue of the country, calculating that half at $300 mensem for three years, at the expiration of which a new calculation to be made.

" To this arrangement both parties have agreed. I have now the honour to solicit a confirmation of it on the part of the Government of India,"

We may not be able to follow Mr. Blundell's reasoning in the course he recommended to Tunku Ali, and that is why we cannot but wonder that he could not find some plea of expediency with which to satisfy the Government of India when he realized that it was useless to harp on the string of justice.

There is a striking similarity between this case and that of the Sultan of Kedah.

To secure Pinang the Government's Agent might promise almost anything, but when the end was gained the Company saw no need to redeem the promises. To gain Singapore the Agent was authorized to recognize a Sultan of Johore, who alone could give the Company a good title to the land. As no one had imagination enough to suggest how there might be a " political advantage " in recognizing the succession of their own Sultan's son, they declined to adopt the proposal as a mere matter of justice. If the son suffered, and the Temenggong gained by their lop-sided view of the duties of a paramount Power, it was not their concern, for they stated quite openly— 'to their officers — that they only interfered when they were satisfied that some advantage would result. But it is well to let the Government of India speak for itself In a letter to Governor Blundell, dated 4 March, 1853, the Secretary to that Government writes: —

" In reply, I am directed to inform you that the Government of India has no concern with the relations between the Sultan and the Temenggong, When it wished to con-

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clude a treaty for the cession of Singapore, in 1824, it recognized the Sultan and the Temenggong as joint rulers in Johore. It styled them 'their Highnesses the Sultan and Temenggong of Johore.' But neither then nor at any subsequent period did the Government of India seek to define what share of authority belonged to either, or what proportion of revenue should be enjoyed by either. ... If the arbitration in question should be proposed, and the Temenggong should be willing to purchase entire sovereignty by a sacrifice of revenue to favour of the Sultan, the Governor-General in Council conceives that the measure would be a beneficial one to all parties."

Of course the Government of India "did not seek to define what proportion of revenue should be enjoyed by either" because, in 1824, there was no revenue to enjoy. But if the Government of India regarded the Sultan and Temenggong as "joint rulers in Johore " — without making any proper inquiries into their relative positions — it was surely a misuse of language, to talk of the Temenggong purchasing entire sovereignty by a sacrifice of revenue in favour of the Sultan, when Mr. Blundell had written that the Sultan and Temenggong were willing to divide the revenues, on an estimate of receipts for three years, at the expiration of which a new calculation would be made. That arrangement, already agreed to by the parties, and recommended by Governor Blundell, was the one approved in this letter from the Government of India.

It is very important to remember this fact, because before Mr. Blundell acted on the sanction conveyed to his proposal, Colonel Butterworth returned from leave and took over the Government It is probable that there would have been delay, for Mr. Blundell passed a good deal of his time at Pinang, and as he was only officiating for the substantive holder of the Governorship, he may have decided that he ought to leave this question to Colonel Butterworth, who would so soon be back at his post


The letter from the Government of India was dated 4 March, 1853, but, for reasons given, it was not till 22 December, 1854, more than a year after his return to Singapore, that Colonel Butterworth dealt with it, in the following dispatch, written at Pinang : —

"2. The Sultan and Temenggong sought my intervention soon after I came back from the Colonies, but the former had become entangled with an European merchant at Singapore, the gentleman adverted to by Mr. Church as holding possession of the Royal Seal, and it was not till Tunku Ali had freed himself that I consented to arbitrate between the two Chieftains, when I proposed the terms laid down in the concluding paragraph of your letter, under date 4 March, 1853, viz. that the Sultan should resign the whole territory of Johore to the Temenggong, on receiving the sum of five thousand dollars on the ratification of the agreement, and five hundred dollars per mensem in perpetuity.

" 3. The Sultan, under the influence of his friends, declined the terms proposed by me, and I left Singapore for this station ; but the case was very shortly opened by him, through the Resident Councillor, with his expressed determination to abide by my decision, at the same time, however, soliciting permission to keep possession of the Kesang-Muar, a small tract of country between the Kesang and Muar rivers, the former being the southern boundary of the Malacca territory, as shown in the accompanying outline sketch.1

" The Resident Councillor earnestly urges this concession to Tunku Ali, if I may so designate the desire of the Sultan to retain the above portion of Johore, in which I am led to believe some of his ancestors are buried. Then the Temenggong objected, evidently, however, without any intention of finally rejecting the proposition, for on

1 The sketch map was taken from Moore's Eastern Archipelago.

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receiving my reply, forwarded under cover to the Resident Councillor, to the effect that I had no wish to coerce him in any way, he immediately sent in his concurrence to the heads of the treaty now submitted."

In a question of such importance, which has had such far-reaching effects, not only on the principals and their descendants, but throughout the Malay Peninsula, the less the historian indulges in speculation the better. The documents available are, however, sufficient evidence on which to form a dispassionate judgment. Governor Blundell made a certain recommendation to the Government of India, and he stated that both Sultan and Temenggong accepted his proposal. It is probable that Mr. Blundell, when in Singapore, had personally conducted the negotiations. The Government of India approved, adding that It was no concern of theirs if the Temenggong chose to sacrifice revenue in order to gain complete sovereignty. Then Governor Butterworth returned, and being told that Tunku Ali was "entangled with an European merchant at Singapore," declined to arbitrate, in a matter which was already settled, and went to Pinang. It is certain that the further negotiations were carried on by the Resident Councillor of Singapore, Mr. T. Church, and he succeeded in putting an entirely different complexion on the terms of agreement ; so that we have Governor Butterworth addressing the Government of India, purporting to quote from that Government's dispatch of 4 March, 1853, terms which were never written, or ever imagined, and suggesting that, as a favour, Tunku Ali, when installed as Sultan of Johore, should be allowed to retain a small district called Kesang-Muar, and receive $500 a month in perpetuity. That is to say, the Government of India having approved Governor Blundell's recommendation of $300 a month, for three years, and then a new calculation of the value of the Johore revenues, Governor Butterworth, acting on the advice of Mr. Church,


settles the matter by giving $5000 down, $500 a month in perpetuity, and allowing the Sultan to retain the district of Muar, on the confines of Malacca, not because it would yield an income, but because it contained the graves of the Sultan's ancestors I

A writer may hesitate to characterize these proceedings in plain language, but the reader will have no difficulty in arriving at a correct conclusion. Mr. Church's influence in the final arrangement may be gathered from the following extracts from two letters written by him to the secretary to the Governor. The first is dated 38 April, 1854: —
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"4. Translations of the terms proposed by Tunku Ali and the Temenggong respectively, I beg to enclose for the information of His Honour the Governor, under whose sanction I have acted.

" 5. For Tunku Ali to accept without modifications the conditions propounded by the Temenggong would be a voluntary relinquishment, for himself and heirs for ever, of all power and influence as a chief, a position not likely to be adopted in any part of the world.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

" 7. The relative position of the Sultan and Temenggong of Johore will be found accurately described in Mr. Crawford's able letter dated the 3rd August, 1824, to the address of the Government of India. The words are : ' I have viewed the Sultan as possessing the right of paramount dominion, and the Temenggong as not only virtually exercising the power of government, but being, like other Asiatic sovereigns, de facto, the real proprietor of the soil' . . . and (he) appropriates the entire revenues to his own use ; it is questionable whether the latter procedure is consistent with Malay usage with reference to the heir and other members of the Sultan's family,"

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As regards the quotation in this letter from Mr. Crawford, formerly Resident of Singapore, I venture to disagree with his definition. Mr. Crawford must have known that the Temenggong was not a sovereign, for had he been so, there was no need to send to Rhio for Tunku Husein, and recognize him as Sultan in order that the Company might have a sound title for their occupation of the island. Indeed, it is difficult, without a smile, to think of the Temenggong, with his handful of followers, eking out a precarious existence in the creeks of Singapore as "an Asiatic sovereign, virtually exercising the power of government" It is, however, a question which Mr. Crawford has himself decided, and though the statement in his letter of 3 August, 1824, has often been quoted as the last word of authority, no one seems to have noticed that in his Account of Siam, published in 1830, he writes : " It was with this individual and the inferior chief already named, that a treaty for the cession of the island was concluded in August, 1824." The individual was Sultan Husein, and the inferior chief the Temenggong Abdulrahman.

Enclosed in the Resident's letter of 28 April, 1854, were the new proposals of Tunku Ali and the Temenggong Ibrahim, put forward in the course of their later negotiations with Mr. Church. Tunku Ali's proposals were these : —

1. " Inche Wan Ibrahim [that is, the Temenggong] must, in the first instance, recognize us and also assist in the installation of me as Sultan, together with the other chiefs, whatever we may be pleased to require it.

2. " Inche Wan Ibrahim will govern a portion of Johore Empire, of which the limits will be hereafter defined, and to hold such government as a Minister under the authority of the Sultan of Johore.

3. " The revenues of the province placed under the authority of Inche Wan Ibrahim are to be divided in such


a manner as may be considered equitable and proper, a deduction being made for the expenses of collection and other charges.

4. "The seal and chap of Inche Wan Ibrahim to be hereafter of the customary form and size which has been adopted by those of his rank and prescribed by Malay usage.

5. "When the terms are agreed to, Inche Wan Ibrahim is to pay to us the sum of $10,000.

6. "The treaty of the 19th November, 1824,1 is in no way to be infringed by the present arrangement.

"Written at Kampong Glam on Saturday, 22 April, 1854."

The terms submitted by the Temenggong on 3 April, 1854, were as follows : —

1. "Dato Temenggong Sri Maharaja, at present residing at Teluk Blanga, Singapore, with his heirs and successors, to be recognized as the rightful rulers of Johore and Dependencies for ever, and that Tunku Ali, his heirs, successors, and relations, are not to interfere in the government of the country.

2. "Tunku Ali, his heirs and successors to be recognized as Sultan of Johore under an agreement to be drawn up, the Sultan and his relations engaging at the same time never to rule at Johore, or reside there, without previously informing the Temenggong of such intention.

3. " A stipulated amount of the revenues of Johore to be fixed in perpetuity to be paid by the Temenggong to Tunku Ali in accordance with an agreement drawn up last year."

The agreement drawn up last year was no doubt the one referred to by Governor Blundell as having been accepted by both parties.

1 A mistake for 3 August, 1824.

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On 16 November, 1854, Mr. Church wrote to the Governor's secretary :-

"... The request made by Tunku Ali to retain Muar (to be bounded by the Kesang and Muar rivers) is by no means unreasonable ; indeed, for the Temenggong to refuse to concede the point would have the appearance of avarice and a disposition to take advantage of and add to the humiliation of Tunku Ali and his brothers. . . . The Temenggong has doubtless much reluctance there should be a semblance of a compliance with the demands of Tunku Ali."

Apparently there was not to be any compliance with the demands of Tunku Ali in regard to the only points which mattered, the government and the apportionment of the revenues of Johore. As to the reluctance of the Temenggong, it may be gathered from this letter to Governor Butterworth, dated 13 December, 1854.

" We have to acquaint our friend, with regard to Tunku Ali's request made to our friend. The left side of Sungei Muar, going up, will be Tunku Ali's according to the arrangement between our son Abubakar and Mr. Church, the Resident Councillor, with this arrangement we are much pleased. . . . Moreover we wish this matter to be settled under the auspices of our friend and to be finally terminated with our friend. . . . We have every hope for the settlement of this question."

About the same date, on 18 December, 1854, Tunku Ali wrote to Mr. Church : —

"We make known to our friend that, respecting our affairs with the Temenggong, we have desired our brother Tunku Jaffar to confer with our friend. Whatever he has mentioned to our friend and the terms and conditions arranged between him and our friend we will now accept. If our friend's further assistance cannot be obtained in


respect to our former letter, we have no other resource but to follow. Moreover, we have hitherto written with our seal duly affixed ; in this instance there is no seal. This matters not, for our seal is displeased. We make this explanation that our friend may not take it amiss."

The "reluctance" seems to have been on the part of Tunku Ali, who gained the empty title of Sultan of Johore, which was his by right, and lost all material advantage except £1000 down, an allowance of $500 a month, and the graves of his ancestors.

Governor Butterworth's letter to the Government of India, dated 22 December, 1S54, was written directly after the above papers reached him in Pinang, and he reported later that die Treaty, between the Sultan and the Temenggong was concluded on 10 March, 1853. By that Treaty Tunku Ali, then, for the first time, twenty years after his father's death, was publicly acknowledged to be Sultan of Johore, on condition that he renounced all claim to the Government and revenues of that State. The Temenggong came into full possession of these advantages, and he undertook to pay to Sultan Ali, and his heirs and successors, $500) a month for ever, and to allow him to retain the district of Muar. It is said that, when the moment came for Sultan Ali to affix his seal to the Treaty, the seal — or chop, as Malays call it — was so " displeased," that it was only put upon the document under considerable pressure.

To avoid a further reference to an unpleasant subject, it may be mentioned here that the annual revenues of Johore have amounted to over a million dollars for some years, and they are now, probably, about $1,200,000, or, say, £140,000 Sultan Ali is dead, and his son would still be in receipt of $500 a month from Johore (originally about $1200 a year), but the district of Muar has also passed away from him and his family to the Temenggong successors. When that further transfer took place, about twenty

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years ago, the allowance was, by the efforts of Governor Sir William Robinson, raised to $1250 a month, divided amongst the late Sultan's family. Lastly, it must be noted that, though the second condition in the terms submitted by Temenggong on 3 April, 1854, was "Tunku Ali, his heirs and successors to be recognised as Sultan of Johore" the son and heir of Sultan Ali was never more than Tunku Alam, while the son and heir of the Temenggong became the " Sultan of the State and Territory of Johore," and that is the title held by his grandson, the present Sultan. The grandson of Sultan Ali is to-day Tunku Mahmud. If Sultan Ali sold his birthright, in 1855, to secure the recognition of his title by the Government of India, he made a poor bargain. The Government of India loftily disclaimed any concern with the relations between the Sultan and the Temenggong ; however indifferent that plea, it is one to which neither the local nor the British Government can lay any claim in their subsequent proceedings.

In the year 1863 there was formed, in Singapore, the nucleus of a company, with a capital of only about £30,000 to construct wharves, docks, and warehouses on the shore of what was then known as New Harbour, but has since been very properly renamed Keppel Harbour, in honour of the late Admiral Sir Harry Keppel, G.CB,, who first sailed a ship through it This small company, whose capital had to be considerably increased in 1865, built the famous Tanjong Pagar Docks, which are so much a part of the modern existence of Singapore — as a great coaling and refitting station and port of call for all vessels engaged in the Far Eastern trade — that the local Government decided, last year, to expropriate the proprietors, take over all the works and business, and spend a very large sum of money in providing further and better accommodation of all kinds. Apart from other considerations, the development of railway enterprise in the Malay States


made this step very advisable ; for it is highly probable that in the near future the interests of the dock, as a private concern, would not be identical with the interests of the railways, which are Government property. It is clearly of great moment that both the docks and the railways should be worked in the best interests of the colony and Malay States, rather than for private ends.

In 1857 the European population of the Straits began to agitate for severance from Indian control, and the grant of a separate and independent Government under the Crown. They petitioned the Houses of Parliament in a long statement of grievances which may be briefly summarized thus : That the Straits were too far from India for that Government to understand, and rapidly deal with, their wants; that since the Indian Government had lost their monopoly of trade with China, they took very little interest in the Straits, and refused to consider the reasonable wishes of those most nearly concerned ; that the Straits were made a dumping-ground for Indian convicts of the worst type, and were over-burdened by troops, with an outrageous proportion of field officers, while the dependency was made to pay for both troops and convicts ; that as there was no Council of any kind, the community was not represented ; and, finally, that the Indian Government and its officers had altogether neglected the cultivation of good relations with the neighbouring Malay States, so that while the Dutch, the French, and the Spaniards had seized almost every seizable place in the neighbourhood, British interests had suffered and British influence had waned. The petition was duly presented in both Houses, was debated and shelved ; but the Times, in an article on the subject, wrote : —

" The true idea of the Settlement, Colony, or by whatever name it may be called, is as the centre and citadel of British power in the Eastern Seas, and the great house of call between Great Britain and China."

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That statement is quoted because that "idea" was really the root of the whole matter, and it was not to be expected that a supreme authority in Calcutta would either realize the position, or exert itself to see that the Straits generally, and Singapore especially, fulfilled their manifest destiny. The Times realized in 1857 what English statesmen will not admit even now — that Singapore is an imperial station ; though it was the insistence of people at the other end of the world, and not the foresight of the home authorities, which brought it into being.

After six years of ceaseless agitation, Sir Hercules Robinson was sent to the Straits to report whether they could afford to pay for the luxury of transfer to the Colonial Office, and then, after another decent interval of four years, the three settlements became, from 1 April, 1867, a Crown Colony.


  1. The international court of justice is dutibound to rectify whatever injustice done to the small state of johore. The proper lienage of its sultanate should be reinstalled and the capital investment made and its income thereafter be owned by the state that belongs to people of johore via their elected leaders. Otherwise, the court is only good in name and not in exercising justice.

  2. these article failed to mention that all 22 out of 24 orangkaya's in Sultan Hussein teritory of Muar was elected Temenggong's as their Supreme Leader