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whole Island of Sumatra. His plan was to re-establish a central authority (himself), to open up all the navigable rivers into the Straits of Malacca; to hold the West Coast stations as military stations to command the rivers and interior of the country; to open a great central road through the whole length of Sumatra; to assume the position of protector of native states *; to introduce 20,000 or 30,000 English colonists, and in fact, to make a colony as valuable to English trade as all the West India Islands. This magnificent result was to be accomplished at a cost not exceeding the yearly expenditure at Bencoolen.
Disappointed in his hopes from the vacancy at Finang Sir Stamford returned to Bencoolen, there to wait the result of the reference made to the Dutch and English Home authorities as to Singapore. While thus waiting his energetic mind found occupation in promoting agriculture at that station. He early saw that Singapore would draw off the little trade his liberal port regulations was collecting at Bencoolen; and as the Settlement must then depend on its internal resources, he endeavoured to increase agricultural production. The land surrounding his own house which he had built in the country, was planted out with a variety of tropical fruits, spices, coffee, &c; the government officers were encouraged to plant spice trees; the convicts were employed in agricultural labour; every one was called on to grow sufficient grain for his own consumption, and finally the system of forced growth of pepper by the natives, under the semblance of a contract, was abolished. This policy had the effect of improving the condition of the people and addej materially to the value of the Settlement. The European gentlemen engaged in spice planting set the example of enterprise, perseverance and liberal expenditure of capital, which has always been attended with the happiest results, and the effect of which is the surest proof of the vast benefits which necessarily accompany the European in his residence in these countries. It was an unfortunate,circumstance that the result of this official spice planting was not satisfactory to those concerned;—nearly all
* On a former occasion he recommended Lord Mmto to Assume the title of "Bitara" in imitation ot the former Hindoo Sovereigns of Majapahit on Java, liitara is a contraction of " Avatarn" or " the incarnation."
of them were ruined at the suhseqnent transfer of the Settlement when iheir properties were sold at almost nominal prices.
The nature of Sir Stamford's political duties bad brought him mnch in contact with the Dutch. After the foundation of Singapore, his connexion with that Settlement heightened feelings sufficiently warm before, and he could see neither justice nor moderation in the actions of his opponents. The recollection of the Cape of Good Hope—North America—Ceylon—South America—the Spice Islands—the West India Islands—Java—the whole Dutch colonial possessions successively wrested from that unfortunate people, had no effect to soften his exasperated feelings, and he would have confined them to the narrowest bounds in these seas wherever opposed to British supremacy. His fancies on the subject found vent in a " Protest" against Dutch aggression, which protest, with the remarks of the old enemy, the Dutch ambassador at St. James, was brought forward in Parliament when Lord Bathurst, worn out by the constant complaints, felt called on to declare that Sir Stamford Raffles had exceeded his authority, that he was, in fact, a "mere pepper collecting agent of the India Company" and had no power to interfere in such matters. At the India House Sir Stamford fared no better, his measures were totally disapproved; the Directors censured him for emancipating the Company's slaves; for opening the Port df Bencoolen and for abolishing the gambling and cockfighting farms. In a letter from Mr Grant (one,of the Directors), dated 19th July 1820, the following ominous passage occurs. "You are probably "aware of the obstacles which have been opposed to the adoption "of your measures, and even threatened your position in the ser"vice; your zeal considerably outstripped your prudence, and the "first operations of it became known at an unfavourable junc"ture".»
With all the authorities of his own country against him, with the embittered opposition of the Dutch, influcntially expressed, as it was, at the foreign office, Sir Stamford, his colony and policy would inevitably have been overwhelmed, had he not succeeded in enlisting a powerful mercantile feeling in his favour. The Indian
• See Life by Lady Raffles.
trade had just been opened, and the public feeling was still excited as to the immense advantages to be dei ived to the nation from a participation in that trade, and here was an English colony, settled in the centre of the Indian trade of thirty centuries, and that colony flourishing in a manner without parallel in mercantile history. It is most probably to the mercantile interest excited in favour of Singapore that we are indebted for its preservation. Once established, and ruled under the statesman-like liberality of Sir Stamford's regulations, its progress was rapid, and although thwarted by the insubordination and narrow views of his subordinates, in the management of the infant colony, the principles of his arrangements were so solid that minor difficulties were overcome. It is not necessary to enter into any examination of the differences which occurred between Sir Stamford and the first Resident at Singapore. It is doubtful from the records of his rule whether the Resident ever saw in that station more than a mere village, fitted for the accumulation of a small supply of goods, and the temporary residence of traders. Thus, while Sir Stamford was founding a Settlement, to be second to none in Asia, his subordinate confined his views to present requirements and thought not of the brilliant future of the Settlement.
There can be no doubt that the presence of the Resident, and the influence arising among the natives from his long service at Malacca, induced many natives to come to Singapore to settle and to supply provisions, stores &c, but it may well be doubted whether the irregularities permitted in a week administration, peculiarly subject to native influence, and governed by native ideas, did not counterbalance such benefits.
On his last visit to Singapore Sir Stamford had the proud satisfaction to find his colony successful beyond his most sanguine expectations. Within four years he found a population of 10,000 souls and a trade aggregating £2,000,000 Sterling for the year. He now set about preparing a code of laws, and establishing more suitable Courts of Justice, to be worked under the treaty which he concluded with the native chiefs. He appointed committees to out lay and improve the town ; and effected various other arrangements.. Whatever may be said of the want of detailed knowledge of Sir Stamford in the matter of law making, there can be no doubt that his ideas were far-seeing and liberal. He set the example of intrusting the European residents with a degree of power commensurate with their position in the community, as appears in the following passage of a letter to the Supreme Government, dated 29th March 1823. "I am satisfied that nothing has tended "more to the discomfort and constant jarrings which have hither"to occurred in our remote Settlements, than the policy which has "dictated the exclusion of the European merchants from all share, "much less credit, in the domestic regulation of the Settlement "of which they are frequently its most important members."
During this visit Sir Stamford, finding that course necessary to the well-being of the station, suspended the Resident and took the management of the whole Settlement on himself, till the 4th of June 1823, when Mr Crawford, of the Bengal medical service, and late Ambassador to Siam &c, arrived. Mr Crawford was appointed Resident by the Supreme Government, under which authority the Settlement was in future to be directly placed. Sir Stamford left Singapore on the 6th June 1823, for Bencoolen, to make preparation for his final departure for England. To such a height had the animosity of the Dutch authorities at Java proceeded against him that, in addition to the instance noted in Lady Raffles's " Memoir" of the Governor-General almost refusing to allow her to land at Batavia, en route to Bencoolen, the ordinary official circular, communicating the change of Government at Singapore, which was sent to Batavia, in common with the other neighbouring countries, was returned unanswered.
Sir Stamford's mission was now complete, his health had suffered very much of late, he had lost three of his children, and there appeared to be no further work for him to do in these seas. He therefore set about preparing for his final return to England. He had his immense collections of books, manuscripts, drawings, maps, preserved specimens of natural history &c. packed into boxes, of which there were such numbers as to require a large proportion of the ship's freight for their accommodation. There were here collected the fruit of years of patient labour and enquiry into the literature of the Malays, Javanese, Bugghese &c; and the finest and most complete collection of books in those languages ever made. The materials from which to have drawn up an account of the Archipelago, more complete in its various details than any yet given, and to have formed the nucleus of a valuable museum were lost in the burning of the ship "Fame," the day after her departure from Bencoolen. Sir Stamford, after seeing the labour of seventeen years thus gone in an hour, set about, after his fortunate escape and return to Bencoolen, to make up duplicate collections. But his health was gone, his early ardour cooled, and in the necessity of a speedy return to Europe he was not able to replace a tythe of the valuable collections thus lost; and in consequence the public have been deprived of a chance of acquiring accurate information on the subjects which attract but a small portion of attention in the present day. Sir Stamford did not live long to enjoy the fruits of his arduous labours, he was cut off at the early age of 45, when his friends still expected a long life of labour in the cause of philanthropy.