THE first Governor selected by the Colonial Office to undertake the somewhat difficult task of introducing the colonial system into a group of settlements saturated with the traditions of Indian methods of administration was Colonel Harry St George Ord, C.B.,of the Corps of Royal Engineers. It is perhaps not very surprising that Colonel Ord, who came from the West Coast of Africa, made an indifferent impression on the white population of this Far Eastern Government, and his unpopularity continued as long as he held the office. He was regarded as masterful and overbearing ; extravagant in his ideas of what constituted a suitable Government House and Governor's yacht, and he neither sought the advice of the community, nor showed himself much inclined to accept it when tendered without invitation. He brought with him the usual Crown Colony Constitution, which comprised an Executive and Legislative Council, and in the latter the unofficial element was usually in opposition to the Governor. On the other hand. Governor Ord was a man of strong character and ability; he came to a dependency which had always been a burden on Indian finances, and he made it pay its way, and left it with a very respectable credit balance.
Page 104

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The returns of Revenue and Expenditure, and the Value of Trade, in what we may henceforth call the Straits Colony, have already been given for the year 1835-6, and the progress of the settlements, up to the date of the transfer, may be gathered from the figures on the next page, far as they are from being complete.

Having regard to these figures,1 and the fact that the Government of India asserted, that the annual cost of maintaining a military garrison in the Straits amounted to £300,000, to which the dependency was only able to contribute £63,000, it is not surprising that no great objection was raised to the transfer of the Settlements to the control of the Colonial Office. This was more especially the case since Calcutta had lost interest in a place which had been acquired mainly for trading purposes. As India itself was to pass to the Crown, and be governed on new lines, it was no doubt decided that the India Office would have enough to do, without the additional responsibility of these small and distant Settlements.

Lord Canning, the Governor-General of India at the time when the agitation for transfer first began, expressed his views in an able minute in which he broadly stated the case for India and for the Straits. He wrote : —

" It must not be overlooked that the revenues of the Settlements have been steadily increasing, and that while the receipts have risen from 873,692 rupees, in 1854-55, to 1,323,368 in 1858-59 (being an increase of 51 per cent in four years), the disbursements for civil charges, not including the cost of the foreign convicts, have in the same interval risen from 722,107 rupees to 821,913, being an increase of 14 per cent only. As there is no reason why the civil charges of the Settlements should be further increased, it may be anticipated that, if peace should happily

1 Kindly supplied by the India Office. The expenditure figures do not include the military charges, nor, perhaps, the cost of the Indian convict establishment.


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be maintained between England and the great European Powers, the revenues of the Straits Settlements will, in no very long time, equal their full charges, Military as well as Civil. But even if it prove otherwise, and if it should be necessary for England to make some sacrifice in this respect, I hold a clear opinion that it ought to be made in justice alike to the Settlements and to India."

Lord Canning evidently held the clear opinion that neither India nor the Straits should be charged for the cost of a garrison which, when once the Straits had passed from Indian to Imperial control, would cease to be an Indian concern, and could not rightly be regarded as a colonial liability ; for the Imperial, and not the Colonial, Government would decide what the constitution of the garrison should be, and where drawn from. If there is any truth in the saying, " Who pays the piper shall call the tune," it would follow that, who calls the tune shall pay the piper. Lord Canning held other views, equally excellent, which probably were not endorsed by the members of the Indian Civil Service. He expressed them in a later passage of the same minute, and they apply to-day to officers whose experience has been gained in African or Mediterranean colonies, as well as they did, in 1859, to officers with Indian training transferred for service in British Malaya. 

This is the passage : —

" But whether the main system of Government be altered or not, that under which officers are provided for service in the Straits is, so far as civil administration is concerned, a positive evil, which ought in any case to be remedied. Indian officers have no opportunities of acquiring experience of the habits or the language of either Malays or Chinese, and accordingly, when officers are sent to the Straits, they have everything to learn. The Government of India is unable to keep a close watch upon their efficiency ; the field is so narrow as to afford


little or no room to the Governor of the Settlements for exercising a power of selection in recommending to a vacant office ; and there is consequently so complete an absence of stimulus to exertion that it may well be doubted whether Indian Civil officers sent to the Straits ever become thoroughly well qualified for, or heartily interested in the duties they have to discharge. The character of the Chinese, the most important and at times a very unmanageable part of the population of the Straits Settlements, is quite different from that of any people with whom Indian officers have to deal. ... I am satisfied that if the Straits Settlements are to remain under the control of the Indian Government, it will be absolutely necessary to devise a plan by which the persons employed in administering die Civil Government shall receive a special training; and that without this the Indian Government cannot do justice to these Settlements."

It is curious how applicable these words of Lord Canning were to Colonel, afterwards Sir Harry, Ord ; for the real mistakes he made were due to ignorance of Malay customs and affairs. It might be difficult to say how far Sir Harry Ord was responsible for the policy by which England abandoned all her interests in Sumatra, and ignored her treaty responsibilities to the Sultan and people of Achin, in return for Dutch concessions, of doubtful advantage, on the West Coast of Africa. It is, however, certain that Sir Harry Ord used all his influence to have this arrangement carried out, with the result that we were immediately saddled with the Ashanti expedition, which cost a good many lives and £900,000 ; while the Dutch entered, light-heartedly, into an attack on Achin which, after thirty-three years of fighting and enormous sacrifices in blood and treasure, is not concluded yet This fact is worth remembering, in view of the attitude of the Dutch towards this country during the

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recent war in South Africa, when the two main chaises against England were, that she had, without provocation, attacked an inoffensive people, in order to possess their country and deprive them of independence ; and, secondly, that it was a disgrace to British arms that the struggle should have lasted so long as it did. The last that has been heard of Dutch military operations in Achin was the slaughter of many hundreds of women and children, and the explanation given was that they were thrust to the front by the men, who sheltered themselves behind them, and, in any case, that the women were as desperate fighters as the men. If the last statement be true, it is a very significant testimony to the state of feeling of the Achinese, that their women should join the ranks and die, with their children, in hundreds, under the bullets of an enemy. It would probably be difficult to find a parallel1 in all Malay history,

1 Whilst this book was still in the press, a parallel to the incident referred to above has been supplied by a Dutch writer to the Times. I have never heard of tribal suicide as a Malay custom, and individual suicide is extremely rare. In any case, we may be thankful that the sacrifice described in the letter, here reprinted, did not take place in any Malay country under British influence.

Sir, — May I by your courtesy be admitted to the hospitality of your columns to refute a statement I see in the Press?
In consequence of the wording of a Reuter telegram, it is alleged that the Netherland troops in Bali (not Achin, (that is 1700 miles away from Bali) slaughtered about 400 people, among them a majority of women and children.
The death of so many human beings is sad enough, without the imputation of cruelty against the Netherlands soldiers. What happened is this.
All students of Malay and Hindu history know that one of the most horrid customs in those countries is the " poopootan," what I should like to call the tribal suicide.
A Bali prince, with the instincts of his warrior race, declines to surrender, but prefers death, and he with all his people seek death. The Prince of Badoeng did this. He turned a deaf ear to all suggestion of a settlement,


This is not the place to discuss the acquisition of the Dutch Station on the West Coast of Africa, It may have been worth the Ashanti War and all that stands for; but it can be confidently asserted that the Gold Coast Colony, with its fatal climate and other drawbacks, would not compare in value with the position we held in Sumatra, if we had taken advantage of it, as Raffles intended that we should. Simply weighing the balance of advantages, they are with Sumatra, and the Dutch would not have been ready to make the exchange had they not felt convinced that they were getting the best of the bargain.

Both the Dutch and the British have paid dearly for the results of an arrangement in which those most nearly concerned were not consulted. But, apart from questions of gain, the Achinese were under the impression that we had treaty relations with them which did not admit of our withdrawal without cause and without notice. When they found themselves involved with the Dutch, the Sultan of Achin earnestly appealed to the Government of her late Majesty, but without avail. Even supposing that no question of prospective advantage was considered in making the exchange of rights (for we could not, perhaps, foresee that it meant a war between Holland and Achin, any more than the Dutch foresaw that we should be involved in a war with Ashanti), still, if the arrangement had not been made, the people of Northern Sumatra would have been spared thirty-three years of somewhat savage war-

but he and all connected with him, men, women, and children, committed suicide.
Nearly the same thing happened in 1895 in Lombok, a neighbouring island. The old King had surrendered, but one of his  sons, a cripple, walked out with all his relations, dressed in gorgeous garment, bedecked with all their jewelry, and with their swords and lances attacked the Dutch army, only to find the death they courted. Those who were not killed in the fight were afterwards found to have also killed themselves.
I am. Sir, your obedient servant,
London Correspondent of the De Niewwe Courant (The Hague).
National Liberal Club, Sept. 25.

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fare, during which many innocent people must have suffered terrible hardships, though the tale of them does not reach the outer world. Sumatra is, unquestionably, one of the richest territories in the East, and Raffles' object was to secure for Great Britain the keys of the Straits of Malacca; Achin in the north, and Singapore in the south. It looks rather like the irony of fate, that the first Colonial Governor of Singapore should have devoted much of his time, and all his influence, to undo part of the work of the Founder of Singapore. His action is curious for another reason. Pinang was, in 1867, always had been since its early days, and is still, the principal market for the trade of Northern Sumatra During the early years of Sir Harry Ord's administration there were several complaints from Pinang of native vessels from that Settlement being detained in the ports of Northern Sumatra, and even, in some cases, pirated by the subjects of Achin or the neighbouring States. Governor Ord remonstrated with the Sumatran chiefs, without great effect, and he may have thought that he would be relieved of trouble, and the Pinang traders of loss, if the Dutch authority was paramount in Sumatra. If so, he was prepared to make great sacrifices for small cause, and it cannot be forgotten that the first British station was established, at Bencoolen, as long ago as 1684, and the various agents of the East India Company, who resided there, never had any particular trouble with the Sumatran Chiefs.

One of the grievances made by the Straits people, in their petition for severance from Indian control, was that Raffles' principal injunction, to cultivate friendship with all neighbouring Malay States, in Sumatra, the Peninsula, and the Archipelago, and to advance British interests by friendly intercourse, had been entirely neglected. Governor Ord was no doubt aware of that complaint, and, having secured a Government yacht, he made periodical visits to the Malay States on the east coast of the Peninsula, to


Kedah on the west, and he even travelled as far as Siam and Java, the latter in connexion with those Sumatran affairs already alluded to. He does not appear to have made the acquaintance of the Sultans of Perak or Selangor till near the end of his term of office, but he befriended and took a very great interest in the Temenggong Abubakar of Johore a State, which by this time, had considerably developed, owing to the agricultural enterprise of wealthy Chinese in Singapore, who owned large and flourishing plantations in Johore, where they cultivated the pepper vine, and a shrub called gambir, from the leaves of which is extracted a valuable dye.

In the history of the Straits, few things are more remarkable than the gradual loss of interest in, and knowledge of, the neighbouring Malay countries. We have seen that research into everything Malay was the guiding force of Raffles' life ; to know the people, their language, customs, and literature, were his greatest interest and delight ; in fact, his whole official career was divided between this study of the Malay and the determination to gain for his country a share of that trade and influence which every day was becoming more of a Dutch monopoly. Raffles' example seems to have stirred a good many other contemporaries to similar pursuits, and men like Marsden, Crawford, Logan, and Braddell studied and wrote upon a great number of subjects affecting their immediate neighbourhood, and countries as far afield as Borneo, Siam, China, the Philippines, New Guinea, and Australia. This admirable enthusiasm continued till 1860, by which time nearly all the leading contributors to what may be called the English literature of Malaya had disappeared from the Straits. Mr. Braddell alone remained, and was in the Straits during the whole of Sir Harry Ord's administration; but his duties as Attorney-General occupied all his time, and left none for further research into those subjects to which he had formerly given his leisure.

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In the first years of the colony's history, from 1867 to 1874, it is almost inconceivable how little was actually known of the independent Malay States in the Malay Peninsula. It would not be too much to say that in the colony there was probably not a European, and very few Malays, who could have given correctly the names of all the States in the Peninsula, from Singapore to the southern boundary of Siam. Similarly, no one could have stated, with approximate correctness, how all the States should be placed on a map, nor what were the real titles of their rulers. What was understood was that, in many of the States, there was going on some kind of domestic struggle between rival claimants to power who, from time to time, as they could raise funds or gain credit, sent to the colony for arms and ammunition to carry on a warfare which claimed comparatively few victims, and in which the fortunes of the combatants varied with bewildering rapidity. Meanwhile the country was being depopulated more by emigration and disease than by the numbers slain, and only very rash people were so foolish as to thrust their heads into such a hornets' nest, in spite of wonderful tales of its mineral riches. Indeed, when some of those who had unwisely made advances of money or material to Malays and Chinese within the zone of disturbance, appealed to the Government to assist them to recover their debts or their property, they were met with the reply : —

" If persons, knowing the risks they run, owing to the disturbed state of these countries, choose to hazard their lives and properties for the sake of the large profits which accompany successful trading, they must not expect the British Government to be answerable if their speculation proves unsuccessful." 
Johore, at this time, was tranquil ; indeed, it was only sparsely peopled, and it was too close to Singapore for the making of trouble. As already stated, Governor Ord took a great personal interest to the Temenggong, and he


advised him on all important matters of administration, making it understood that the advice was to be followed, as indeed it was, almost invariably. Before Sir Harry Ord had been twelve months in the Colony the Temenggong wrote to him a letter suggesting that, as the inferior title of Temenggong was altogether inapplicable to the Sovereign Ruler of Johore, it should be abandoned. The Governor forwarded the request, with a strong recommendation that it should be granted, and on 20 May, 1868, the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos replied : —

"... In reply, I have to instruct you to inform His Highness that Her Majesty's Government have much pleasure in acceding to his wishes that the title of Maharaja of Johore should be adopted in the place of that of Temenggong, and you will consider yourself therefore at liberty to use that title in future."

The title "Maharaja" is common in India, but unknown as applied to Malay rulers.

A reference to the map will show that there are on the west coast of the Peninsula, between Kedah in the north and Johore in the south, three Malay States, namely Perak, Selangor, and Negri Sembilan, which means the nine States. The boundaries of these States have been altered since they came under British protection ; a tract of country called the Dindings, seventy miles south of Pinang, has become British territory, and a coast district, called Lukut, formerly under Selangor, is now a part of Negri Sembilan. These three states, counting the Negri Sembilan as a whole, had for years been given up to internal strife, and it will be necessary to explain the causes of the various quarrels.

The outside world knew and cared very little about it, and if the combatants had confined their attentions to their own countries and refrained from molesting British subjects, it is quite possible that they might have killed each other to the last man without our interference.

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Letters imploring assistance, and offers to hand over their States to the Company or the British Government, bad been made at intervals ever since the occupation of Pinang. The former had been disregarded and the latter politely declined, partly because no one urged that any special advantage was to be gained by undertaking such responsibilities, partly because people in authority were always afraid of offending some other power, and partly because it was recognized that any such proposal would be declined by the home Government. Towards the end of Sir Harry Ord's administration, the disturbances in both Perak and Selangor began to affect persons and interests outside those States. In 1871 the piracy of a British trading boat by Chinese and Selangor Malays was reported, and when the Senior Naval Officer, in H.M.S. Rinaldo, went to the scene, and an endeavour was made to arrest persons identified as having taken part In the outrage, a struggle ensued, the Government vessels were fired upon by forts at the mouth of the Selangor River, and these forts were destroyed by the Rinaldo. Sir Harry Ord was then in England on leave of absence, but he returned to his post in 1872, and finding the state of affairs in Selangor as bad as could be imagined, he endeavoured to use his influence to secure a cessation of hostilities. In this, however, he failed. In Perak matters were even worse, though the trouble was not of such long standing. There was a Malay quarrel about the succession to the sultanship, and a continuing fight, with very heavy losses on both sides, between two factions of Chinese, who were struggling for the possession of valuable tin mines. Both sides had friends amongst the Chinese in Pinang ; these tried to furnish them with the sinews of war, and Pinang was invaded by two thousand wounded and starving people who had escaped from Larut, the district of Perak where the most serious fighting was taking place.


This was the condition of affairs in the end of 1872, and in the following months, up to the time when Sir Harry Ord's term of office expired, in the autumn of 1873, it grew much worse.

It is difficult, without wearying the reader, to give a comprehensive sketch of the causes which produced such a situation that the British Government reluctantly consented to authorize a new departure, and, forsaking the policy of rigid abstention, to make trial of some method by which peace and order might be introduced into the affairs of these unruly Malays, without committing the local or Imperial Government to any serious responsibility. The difficulty cannot be avoided ; for the principal aim of this narrative is to show the nature of the Malay case which British officers were set to deal with, how they handled it, and the result.

Perak is a large State, covering about eight thousand square miles of territory. Its back is towards a great range of hills, some of them eight thousand feet high, running down the centre of the Peninsula, whilst it faces the Straits of Malacca, with a coast line about eighty miles in length. Speaking very roughly, the northern boundary of Perak marches with Province Wellesley and Kedah, while the southern boundary is a considerable river, the Bernam, dividing the territories of Perak from the adjoining State, Selangor.

It will be understood that Perak and the other western States are drained by many large and small rivers, rising, for the most part, in the main range of mountains, and flowing, westward, into the waters of the Malacca Straits. Similarly the eastern States are drained by rivers, rising in the same mountain range, but flowing eastward into the China Sea. The principal river of Perak is a very fine stream, navigable to boats for about two hundred miles ; it bears the same name as the country, and it falls into the Straits of Malacca just south of the

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Dindings territory. On this river and its tributaries live by far the largest proportion of the Malay inhabitants of the country. The river is deep and tidal, and for the first thirty miles of its length from the sea is navigable for steamers. The country on either side is flat, swampy, and low, and the shore of the State, except the Dindings, is lined continuously with a broad belt of mangroves. At the time of which I am now writing, 1872-3, there were few Malays in this lower country ; but there were, dotted along the coast, villages of Chinese fishermen over whom no one exercised any particular control. Above that first thirty miles of the Perak River the water ran clear as crystal over its sandy bed, and it was for the most part very shallow, with deep pools at unexpected places. For the next hundred and fifty miles the width of the stream varied from about seven hundred yards to seven hundred feet or less ; it was dotted with islands, some of fair size, and, while the lower reaches were often bounded, on one side or the other, by long stretches of russet sand, the further the river was ascended, the higher became the banks, till they maintained a uniform height of about twenty feet from the ordinary level of the water. Throughout the whole of this river-length were villages, large and small, usually divided from each other by several miles of heavy forest, and each village was the residence of an important chief, or under his control. Fifty miles from the sea the conformation of the country changed ; small isolated hills were seen close to the river, while the spurs of ranges, rising to two thousand or three thousand feet, ran down to the water's edge. A hundred and fifty miles from its mouth the river forced its way through a succession of gorges and the navigation was difficult, on account of the numerous rapids. In the upper country, however, the villages were far apart and the population scanty. To the north of this great valley of the Perak River was a district called Larut, drained by an insignificant stream. North of that again was the Krian


district, which marched with Province Wellesley and Kedah. In Krian there were a few agriculturists, and on the coast a few fishermen. Inland was a sub-district called Salama, where some tin mines were being worked, partly by Chinese and partly by Malays.

Larut was the great tin-mining district of Perak. It contained a population of about twenty thousand Chinese and two or three thousand Malays. The mines lay at the foot of a great range of jungle-covered hills (rising, in their highest point, to over five thousand feet), and were distant from the navigable estuary of the Larut River about ten miles, with another ten miles to the open sea. Speaking broadly, there were two groups of mines (all open-surface workings), about two miles apart, worked respectively by the Go Kuans (the five tribes) and the Si Kuans (the four tribes). In the whole of Perak, at this time, there was only one road, about twelve miles long, passing from the Si Kuan mines, through the Go Kuan village, down to the landing-place on the river estuary. From the middle of this road there was a branch of six miles to the village and residence of the Malay chief of the Larut district This man was styled the Mantri, and he was one of the four high officers of State.

On the southern side of the Perak Valley there were three districts. First, Kinta, drained by a river of that name, which joined the Perak River some forty miles above the mouth of the latter stream. Kinta was well populated by Malays, and had a few rich tin mines, some of which were worked by Chinese. Then came a district called Batang Padang, with a stream which also joined the Perak River a few miles below the Kuala Kinta, meaning the mouth of the Kinta River. There were very few inhabitants in the Batang Padang district, and fewer still in Bernam, which comprised a huge stretch of virgin forest on the left bank of a great river of the same name, the boundary between Perak and Selangor.

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Will the reader try to realize the general appearance of this country before I tell him the nature of its rule, the condition of its people ? I can no longer refer him to the authority of others. All that follows was the result of my own observation, often of my very bitter experience ; and when I write of events in which I did not personally take a part I had, I believe, the best means of knowing what actually took place.

Here, then, was Perak, a “limitless expanse “ of jungle ; miles upon miles of forest, broken only by silver streaks, where one might, from a very high place, catch glimpses of some river. A few patches of lighter green showed where there were, or more probably had been, clearings. Excluding the single district of Larut, there was not a yard of road in the country, and hardly a decent house ; there was not even a bridle path, only jungle tracks made by wild beasts and used by charcoal-burners and a few pedestrians. The commerce of the country was by the rivers ; they were the highways, and the people would not leave them, unless they were compelled to do so. The country folk moved about but little, for they knew the difficulties too well. A boat journey of a hundred miles down river would take a week, and back again a month or more. When people of consideration had to journey by land, they travelled on elephants, if they could get them, and cut their way through the jungle. Pedestrians had to foot it as best they might; over the roots, through the thorns, wading or swimming rivers and streams, ploughing through miles of bog and mud in the heat and rain, stung by everything that stings (their name is legion), and usually spending two or three nights in the jungle with any kind of shelter that a chopper and the forest could supply. As for food, the traveller or his people carried it, and even in villages it was practically impossible to buy anything except an old hen. The Malay villages, always on the bank of a stream, were composed of palm-thatched


wooden huts raised above the ground. These huts were scattered about, without the smallest attempt at regularity, in orchards of palm and fruit trees, no attempt being made to clear the undergrowth of weeds and bushes.

There would be a mosque — perhaps two, if the village was large — and behind it, in a swamp, there were usually some rice fields. The people lived on what they could catch in the river or the swamp, on the fruit of their orchards, on such vegetables as would grow without tending; poultry and goats were a luxury. In the neighbourhood of mines it was a little better, because it was possible there to sell what they had to Chinese. But there again was a drawback, for, like vultures to a carcass, all robbers, thieves, and murderers collected round the mines ready to despoil, by every means, any one who possessed anything worth taking. If there was a complaint (poor people knew better than to make one), and the parties were hailed before some chief or raja, or swash-buckler with a few determined followers, the result usually was that everybody concerned returned poorer than he went.

For authority and justice there ought to have been a Sultan, the seventeenth of his line, for Perak is a State which prides itself upon the antiquity and completeness of its rules and customs ; but, then, so do Pahang and Kedah, though it is certain that, in Perak, there has survived the most perfect organization of State officers, each with well-defined duties ; only, in 1872, the duties were ignored and the titles were simply used as a cover for the exercise of a large authority. As for Sultans there were three, and that was the root of the whole matter. Not even an independent Malay State can put up with three masters without a good many tears.

There was little fault to be found with the constitution of Perak ; the trouble was with the holders of office, the disappointed, the unruly, and the foreign freelances, who found the place exactly to their taste; while the poor

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groaned and suffered, and there was no one to listen to their exceeding bitter cry. Ancient custom provided that the State should be ruled by a Sultan — if possible, the eldest legitimate son of a previous Sultan, and be was supported by two dignitaries, also of royal birth, the Raja Muda and the Raja Bendahara. The former of these was supposed to be the head of all those of Raja birth, and the latter was the Sultan's Wasir, his Prime Minister. There was another post, of no great importance, with the title of Raja di Hilir, that is, the Raja of the lower, or down-stream, country, and this office was, or ought always to have been, held by the eldest son of the reigning Sultan. The office of Raja Bandahara was held by the eldest son of the last Sultan, and that of Raja Muda by the eldest son of the Sultan before him. So, when a Sultan died, he was succeeded by the Raja Muda, and the Raja Bendahara and Raja di Hilir each moved up a step, the son of the new Sultan being in due time appointed Raja di Hilir. By this means the country was always supposed to secure in its Sultan a man of considerable experience, who had held three high offices, who knew the State, its people, its customs, and its needs, and who, if he failed during the period of probation to prove his worth (in other words, if he turned out an irreclaimable scoundrel), would be passed over and left in the stage at which he had arrived. Should that occur, as it sometimes did, the son of the rejected did not necessarily suffer for the sins of his father, but might, in his turn, be appointed Raja di Hilir, when his ultimate destiny would be in his own hands.

Under the Sultan and his two royal props — as Malays call them — were four great chiefs, of whom the Mantri (with Larut as his charge) was one, the Sri Adika Raja, or Chief of the Upper Country, another, and the Temenggong the last. Under these, again, were eight chiefs, at the head of whom was the Maharaja Lela (of whom there


is more to tell later on), the Laksamana (the Admiral), the Shabandar {Port Officer), the Date' Sagor, and others. Last of all were sixteen minor chiefs, with sufficiently high-sounding titles and real duties, if they had ever performed them. Besides all these, there were Court officials, priests, village head-men, and so on.

To come from the abstract to the concrete. It happened that when the last Sultan but one, Sultan Jafar by name, died, and was succeeded by Sultan Ali, a certain Raja Yusuf, son of a previous Sultan, was passed over ; his junior, Raja Abdullah, was created Raja Muda, and a foreigner, a man called Raja Ismail, whose mother only belonged to the Perak royal family, was created Raja Bendahara. It was said that Raja Yusuf was passed over on account of his unpopularity, and I can believe it, for I knew him very well. He retired to his own village in high dudgeon ; but as he could get no support there was nothing to be done. Then Sultan Ali died, and this time Raja Abdullah was passed over, and the foreigner, Ismail, was created Sultan by a certain number of chiefs, of whom the Mantri was the leader. The excuse given in this case was that Abdullah neglected to attend the burial of Sultan Ali, and as it was the custom that a dead Sultan could not be buried until his successor had been appointed, the chiefs present acknowledged Ismail. They also said that, when his wife was carried off by a Selangor Raja, Abdullah had neglected the opportunity offered him of revenging himself on the abductor and bringing his wife back again. As to the first plea, it is unsound; for it had not been the invariable custom in Perak to install the successor before burying a deceased Sultan, and Abdullah had excuse for his non-attendance. The second plea was not publicly advanced.

The real reason why Ismail was acknowledged by a number of up-country chiefs (many of whom had just received, or been promised, office) was that the Mantri

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willed it so. The Mantri, as already stated, was the chief of the Larut district, and owing to the extent of the tin-mining industry in that province, he was far the richest and most powerful individual in Perak. The Mantri himself was not a pure Malay ; he was partly Indian, and the Indian blood gave him a shrewdness and business capacity foreign to Malays. He, no doubt, calculated that if be could get his friend Ismail, a foreigner and an old man, elected Sultan, there was no special reason why he might not, in the fullness of time, step into his friend's shoes. The Mantri was a travelled person, with a house in Pinang, and he may have drawn his inspiration from observation of passing events outside Perak. In any case Ismail received a certain amount of acknowledgment, though Abdullah had a fair following in his own country, down-stream.

As may be supposed, Abdullah was beside himself with fury, but as he was not a very bold man, and did not possess sufficient resources to make a fight of it, he caused himself to be acknowledged Sultan by his own party, and at the same time made overtures to Raja Yusuf, the discarded, and appointed him Raja Muda. In doing this he, no doubt, thought that he would secure a fighter for his side (though Yusuf had neither means nor followers), and Abdullah sent him to Larut with a handful of men to support those who were in opposition to the Mantri, Then Abdullah wrote to the Governor of the Straits, stating what had happened, asking to be recognized as Sultan, and also requesting that a British officer might be sent to him to teach him the art of administration.

Whilst all this was going on, affairs in Larut had got into a desperate state. The rival factions of Chinese had quarrelled about the mines — some said about a woman. The cause is of no particular importance, but the result was a pitched battle, and three thousand men were said to have been killed in a single day. The villages and


every isolated house had been burnt down, almost every mine had stopped work, and the combatants had stockaded themselves in what they considered the most advantageous positions. The Mantri and his distant village were left unmolested, and, as his influence and authority were not sufficient to re-establish order, he espoused the cause of one side, the Go Kuans, and gave them all the assistance that he could The Si Kuans had seized and stockaded positions between the Go Kuans and the sea, but as the Mantri owned two small steamers and was the recognized authority in Larut, he kept his friends supplied with food and arms, and attempted to starve the other side into submission. Amongst these miners were many criminals, pirates, and desperadoes from the South of China, and steps were at once taken to increase their number. The Si Kuans were probably the best fighters, and their friends in Pinang did all they could to help them. They sent Chinese junks, loaded with arms and food, to out-of-the-way places on the coast, and tried to get the supplies forwarded by creeks, rivers, and overland All this was, of course, done secretly, but, in spite of such assistance as they could get, the Si Kuans were driven to the most desperate straits, suffered terribly, and took to piracy to relieve their necessities. As far as fighting went they would not give in, and their opponents had not the courage to attack them in their stockades and make an end.

Hoping to settle matters, the Mantri had bought some Krupp guns and engaged the services of Captain T. C Speedy, of Abyssinian fame, to recruit a number of Indian warriors (mostly Punjabis, Afghans, and Sikhs), and they were in a stockade on the branch road, about four hundred yards from a Si Kuan stockade built at the junction of the roads.

There had been several naval engagements off the coast of Larut, between rival fleets of junks, and many

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lives had been lost The Si Kuans established a fort in the jungle, on the Larut River, and from this vantage ground they commanded the river, attacked all boats, and fired on the Mantri's steamers. As months went by, and this lamentable state of affairs continued, the Si Kuans fitted out a number of long and fast fishing-boats, which, with guns and fighting platforms, fore and aft, and double-banked oars, were used to prey upon all native craft navigating the Straits of Malacca in the immediate vicinity of the coast of Perak. No one was safe, all classes and nationalities were treated alike, and almost daily came in reports of vessels pirated and burnt, the crews murdered, and the cargoes stolen. A real panic was established, and not without cause. For months one or two of H.M.'s gunboats had patrolled the coast of Perak ; but, as these vessels could not approach the shore, owing to the immense mud banks which stretch far out to sea, manned and armed boats were sent away, for days and nights together, in search of the pirates. The duty was an excessively trying one, the men being exposed, without the smallest protection, to the terrible heat of the sun all day, with very often deluges of tropical rain all night. I tried it for three weeks, so I know what it was like. It was impossible to land, for the coast was nothing but mangroves and mud, with here and there a fishing village, inhabited, no doubt, by pirates or their friends, but with nothing to prove their complicity. These mangrove flats were traversed in every direction, by deep-water lagoons, and whenever the pirates were sighted, as not infrequently happened, and chase was given, their faster boats pulled away from their pursuers with the greatest ease, and in a few minutes the pirates would be lost in a maze of water-ways, with nothing to indicate which turn they had taken. The whole business became somewhat ludicrous when native craft were pirated (usually by night) under the eyes of the British crews,


and when their boats got up to the scene of action there was not a trace to show what had occurred, or where the pirates had gone. Finally the boats of H.M.S. Midge were attacked in the estuary of the Larut River, and after a longish engagement the pirates were beaten off, having seriously wounded two British officers. The net result of these excursions was, that about fifty per cent of the crews of the gun-vessels were invalided, and not a single pirate boat or man had been captured ; but the Si Kuan stockade in the Larut River and several junks had been destroyed. It will be understood that honest people did not frequent either the land or the waters of Larut at this time, and, if necessity drove them that way, they went warily and, for their own sakes, shot at sight.

Not content with their exploits in Larut and the Straits of Malacca, the Si Kuans attacked British police stations at the Dindings and in Province Wellesley, and they, or their emissaries, blew up by night the Mantri's house in Pinang, hoping to rid themselves of the man who had taken the part of their enemies.

Now turn to Selangor. Whilst the Perak disturbances and quarrels had only been active for a few years, those of Selangor had been in progress for at least a generation. There had been intervals of comparative quiet, but the normal state of Selangor was robbery, battle, and murder. The people of the place rather prided themselves on their reputation, and the conditions of life had made all men fighters, while even the women would sometimes use deadly weapons under the spur of jealousy. As for the country it was divided into six districts, each drained by a river of the same name; they were, from north to south, Benam, Upper and Lower Selangor, Klang, Upper and Lower Langat, Lukut, and Sungei Raia. Except in Lukut and Sungei Raia, the rivers were all considerable, tidal in their lower reaches, where they were navigable to small steamers, and, above that, to cargo boats. Every river on

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this coast, with one exception, has a shallow water bar; the exception is the Klang River, the mouth of which is protected by two long islands. As to the general appearance of the place, it was similar to Perak, but the low country was more extensive, there being but few ranges of low hills, while the distance from the sea to the foot of the main range was about forty miles, throughout the length of the State: The coast line of Selangor extended to a distance of about 140 miles until Lukut and Sungei Raia passed to the Negri Sambllan by a rectification of boundary.

Bernam was practically uninhabited, except for one small village on the Bernam River, some twenty-five miles from the sea. On the left bank of the Selangor River, by its mouth, was an old Dutch fort, on an isolated hill. At the foot of this hill, up river, and also on the right bank, were a few cocoanut plantations and rice fields with a scattered population of Malays. Seven miles up the Klang River there was a small town, guarded by a fort on a low hill. The town possessed a few streets, or roads, and one respectable house. On the coast were a few Chinese fishing villages, and the Sultan and his people lived in a miserable swamp by the Langat River, while the Raja of Lukut had a dilapidated house in his own district. Up-country there were some tin mines (worked mainly by Chinese) at wide intervals along the foot hills of the main range, but, at a place called Kuala Lumpor, on the Klang River about seventy-five miles from its mouth, was a Chinese town, with two streets, and a considerable number of shops and houses, built of adobe and thatched with palm leaves. From this centre, Kuala Lumpor (now the principal town in the Malay States, and the head-quarters of the Government), there were a few miles of rough, unmetalled, cart-track; running north and south, to other smaller mining camps. For the rest there was unbroken forest and a very sparse population.


Selangor had a Sultan, but practically no constitution. The Sultan was a very old man and quite a curiosity in his way. He was supposed to have killed ninety-nine men with his own hand, and did not deny die imputation. He had secured his position by violence, ousting a Raja with a better hereditary claim, and he had held the office for about thirty years by his uncompromising reputation. This was rather strange for, in 1872, he was living in retirement in a mud swamp on the bank of a melancholy tidal stream, and his manners were as mild as those of a missionary. He was then over sixty years of age, a small, spare, wizened man, with a kindly smile, fond of a good story, and with a strong sense of humour. His amusements were gardening (in which he sometimes remarkable energy), hoarding money and tin, of which he was supposed to have a very large store buried under his house, and smoking opium to excess. He was not a rigid Muhammadan, for he was fond of snipe, and, as I lived in a Malay hovel in the swamp quite close by, I used to shoot snipe for him in the season, and all the Sultan asked whether I had said " Bismillah” as I pulled the trigger. If I had, they were halal, and he could eat them. I rejoice to think that, in spite of the difficulties of his position, he lived to the age of ninety-three — gardening and hoarding and smoking opium to the last — and died mourned, not only by his own people, but by all who knew him.

In the distressful times to which we must return, the Sultan of Selangor reminded one of Old Mother Hubbard. He not only had a large family (mainly grown-up sons), but they were singularly unruly, not to say wicked Then there was a host of male relatives and connexions, also grown up, and the difficulty of finding employment and incomes for these aspirants to place and position was so great that, when they took to quarrelling, as they seem to have done at a very early age (or they perpetuated some older quarrel of their ancestors), the Sultan probably

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decided that his own real tastes were agricultural. It was unfortunate that his example found no imitators ; for in all the Peninsula there was not a spot where life was so uncertain as in that mud swamp. It mast have been the atmosphere of Selangor, as much as its ancient and evil reputation, which made all men filters; even the Chinese, first, no doubt, for their own protection, and afterwards for the excitement of the game, were almost as keen as the Malays The one considerable body of Chinese lived in and around Kuala Lumpor, and as they were the only workers in the country, and their single means of communication with a market was by the Klang River, they had made friends with three Rajas (the sons of the Chief of Lukut), who held the village and forts of Klang. These brothers were driven from their position by three famous warriors, Raja Mahdi, Raja Mahmud, and Seyyid Mashhur, whose names were, to the western Malay States, what that of the Black Douglas was once to Scotland.

Just at this time the brother of the Sultan of Kedah married a very comely and intelligent daughter of the Sultan of Selangor, and as a marriage of this kind entails a long residence at the home of the bride, the Kedah Raja thought he could improve it by introducing order into the disordered household of his father-in-law. He therefore persuaded the latter to appoint him Viceroy of Selangor. That was all very well, and there the Sultan washed his hands of the business and returned to his garden; but while the discomfited brothers were quite ready to acknowledge the new Viceroy, the other party laughed at him, took all the tin which came down the Klang River, and sent their friends to attack the Chinese at the mines. The Viceroy had supporters in the colony, both Europeans and Chinese, and, with their money and the countenance of the Straits Government, he succeeded in retaking Klang and relieving Kuala Lumpor. The


curious thing was that each party in turn and each individual leader made periodical visits to the old Sultan, complained bitterly of the other side, and asked for tin or money, arms and ammunition. To all comers, from whatever quarter, the Sultan seemed always to signify his approval, and, with strict impartiality, made gifts of some sort. All the combatants, therefore, declared that they were acting with the sanction and authority of the Sultan. Long afterwards I asked the Sultan what it meant, and His Highness explained, with a smile, that when people came and bothered him with long statements, to save discussion and get rid of them quickly he said, " Benar, benar” which means " Right, right " ; but, he added, " I mean right from their point of view, not mine."

The fact that one or other party held this or that position was of no importance. Driven from Klang, the famous three retired to the Selangor River ; checked at Kuala Lumpor, they withdrew deeper into the forest, the better to make another spring. So the "war" waged backwards and forwards, and just as the Mantri, in Larut, hired Indian mercenaries to fight for him, so the Viceroy of Selangor collected a cosmopolitan band of Europeans and Easterns, and sent them to hold the mines. Very few of them ever returned, for they were attacked and broke, followed false guides and were cut off in detail, or died miserably in the forest. About that time I paid my first visit to Kuala Lumpor; it was a pleasure trip, not an official duty. I had a companion, and it took us three days and nights, poling up river, to reach Kuala Lumpor. On our return, after twelve hours' walking, miles of it up to our waists in jungle swamps, we reached a point on the Klang River where we got a boat to take us back to Klang. That was the jungle where the " foreign legion " was lost, and as they were all strangers it was not surprising.

The Chinese, under a very able captain, had their own

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way of doing their part of the fighting. Standing before an open shed in the market-place of Kuala Lumpor, and pointing to a kind of table, the Captain said to me, " That is where I pay for the heads of the enemy ; every head brought in and placed on that table is worth $100, and sometimes it has been as much as I could do to count the money fast enough."

After borrowing and spending a great deal of money; after months and years of struggle, with ever-varying fortune, the Viceroy found himself deeply indebted, and no nearer success. As a last resource, he asked the Bendahara of Pahang to help him, and that potentate, when the request was backed by Governor Ord, agreed to send three thousand men over the dividing range, to take the Viceroy's opponents in rear. This move was generally successful, but it introduced into unhappy Selangor a new element of trouble.

Of the Negri Sambllan it is not necessary to say much. Behind Malacca, and between Selangor, on the north, and Johore, on the south, were nine little States, named Sungei Ujong, Rembau, JohoI, Jelebu, Jempol, Gemencheh, Sri Menanti, Gunong Pasir or Inas, and Ulu Muar. In former times these places were a part of the ancient kingdom of Johore, but so long ago as 1773, owing to their peculiar customs and the trouble they gave, they were placed under the general control of a Raja from Menangkabau, in Sumatra, with the title Yang di Pertuan, the domestic government of each little State remaining with a local chief! Several of the States were fertile and well cultivated, Rembau alone had ten thousand Malay inhabitants and Sungei Ujong was rich in tin. As all these places were inland, the inhabitants could only get to the Straits of Malacca by the Linggi River in the north, or the Muar River in the south. The Linggi River is the northern boundary of Malacca, and about five miles from its mouth divides into two branches, the northern branch draining Sungei Ujong,


and the southern Rembau. The command of this water-way was everything to Sungei Ujong and Rembau, and there was constant fighting for its possession. During these periods both sides built stockades on the banks of the river, and levied toll on all passers-by, Malacca traders being the principal sufferers. By 1872 the nine States had drifted apart and had not even a nominal head ; there were two claimants to the post of Yang di Pertuan (the succession being, by Menangkabau custom, through the female line), and neither had influence enough to get himself recognized. In Sungei Ujong there were two chiefs, the Dato' Klana, or land chief, and the Dato' Bandar, the water chief. They were supposed to have equal authority over different divisions of the State, but the Klana, being a Seyyid, was trying to assume control over the Bandar, who refused to admit his pretensions. None of these circumstances made for peace and order ; and if it be added that a change in the holder of the chief office in each little State almost invariably resulted in a struggle amongst the claimants to the succession, some idea may be gathered of the conditions of life in the Negri Sambllan.

So when Sir Harry Ord left the colony, in 1873, there was not only the promise of trouble, it had arrived, in over full measure ; and in the brief period which elapsed between his departure in October, 1873, and the arrival of his successor, the plot so thickened that it might truly be said the western States of the Peninsula, from Perak to the borders of Johore, were given up to native warfare, with all the evils and miseries that follow in its train. At the same time, the Straits of Malacca were the scene of daily piracies, and all trade by means of native craft was paralyzed.

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