« AnteriorContinuar »
end. These three territories were united in the first years of the century under the rule of the Emperor Gia Long, and are inhabited chiefly by the Anamites. Their social order is the same, and it has been little disturbed by the partition of the empire since the coming of the French. It is essentially democratic, with self-governing communes as its basis.
This Anamite commune is important, because it is the unit of administration and the responsible agent of the government for the collection of taxes, the raising of troops, and the execution of the law. It offers the unvarying framework of society for each advance of the population into unoccupied districts. Its honors and duties belong to the notables, who are inscribed on the tax rolls. The higher notables form the communal council, and elect one of their number mayor. As soon as their choice is accepted by the government the mayor represents the commune in all questions raised by the central administration. He carries out the laws, is chief of police, and guardian of the tax rolls.
Cambodia also belongs to Indo-China, and lies on the Mekong above Cochin China. It is the feeble remainder of an ancient kingdom, and yet its people affect to despise the encroaching Anamites, claiming their own origin in an earlier, perhaps an Aryan, emigration. Their social organization also differs from that of Anam. When the French protectorate began, they did not have the commune. Instead of a lettered aristocracy reaching the higher official positions nominally through severe competitive examinations, they had a semifeudal nobility, and administrative affairs were centralized instead of being left to local authorities. * * *
For many years after the treaty of 1863 the protectorate had remained merely nominal. If the terms of the treaty were closely adhered to, the French resident could not legally interfere in the internal administration of the country, and the men who successively occupied the position failed to gain ascendency enough in the court of King Norodom to compensate for the legal weakness of their situation. Lanessan rather savagely regards such a failure as characteristic of French colonial officers everywhere. They do not make the least effort, he says, “to work for the increase of the native authority, and at the same time to penetrate it by our influence.”
When the resident, to strengthen his position, tried to take a seat in the council of ministers, the King resisted stubbornly, but all the while he was covertly using the guaranty his throne received from the protectorate to render himself absolute. His court became more luxurious, and since his revenue did not increase, his officers, the mandarins, were not paid, and were forced to pillage the people. Roads and bridges, no longer repaired, soon almost disappeared.
From this desperate situation M. Thomson, the governor of Cochin-China, attempted to rescue the country by the treaty of June 17, 1884, negotiated under the guns of French ships. The remedy was too drastic; it attempted to revolutionize Cambodian society from top to bottom. Furthermore, it was justly believed to be an ill-conceived device for annexing Cambodia to Cochin-China, dictated by officials eager to extend their jurisdiction.
It is not astonishing that Cambodia, from king to peasant, was profoundly stirred by such an attack upon traditional privileges and national susceptibilities. Insurgent bands appeared everywhere. The peaceful inhabitants, impartially afraid of the insurgents and of the French, fled to the forests. In less than two years the country looked like a desert. Finally the resident was authorized to inform King Norodom that the treaty might be considered a dead letter, though it was not to be abrogated.
Possibly the resistance of the Cambodians would not have been so obstinate had not the French Government by its hesitancy showed that it was not sure of its policy. Though the treaty was made in the spring of 1884, the law approving it was not passed until July 17, 1885, and the decree providing for its promulgation was not issued until January 9, 1886. Furthermore, it was only in 1891, when Lanessan came out as governor-general, that the treaty was thoroughly put in force.
So much, at least, of the history of Indo-China must be told in order intelligently to explain the measures by which France has sought to administer this group of possessions. But the period of conquest saw the very machinery in Paris devised to control such portions of the national domain radically reconstructed.
POWERS OF THE FRENCH EXECUTIVE.
Americans are naturally surprised to discover that the French executive is intrusted not only with the administration of colonial affairs, but also with the legislation which devises the mechanism of government in the colonies and which regulates all the details of the colonial régime. So extensive a grant of power is rather anomalous even in a country accustomed to government by decrees. It came about in this way: The constitution of 1852 delegated to the senate the organization of the colonies. Accordingly in 1854 Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Réunion were provided for by senatus consultum. The other colonies were left for a subsequent act, and meanwhile the Emperor was empowered to legislate for them by decrees. As the expected senatus consultum never came, the prerogative remained in his hands until his overthrow. It was then held to pass provisionally to the new executive, where it still remains, because the constitutional laws of 1875 did not touch this field of legislation. In certain cases the president can issue his decrees merely upon the report of the minister charged with the management of the colonies, and at most he is obliged to consult the council of state. But if the chambers legislate upon any matters concerning the colonies the president can not traverse this legislation by subsequent decrees.
Such a system has much to commend it for the effective control of distant possessions. Many a fine enterprise has been ruined in a crisis by the sort of hesitancy and dilatoriness which may be looked for in a deliberative assembly. But while promptness is made possible there is little danger of irresponsible action, for the minister must countersign each act of the president, and he does this knowing that if he blunders intolerably he will bring defeat upon his colleagues in the cabinet. There is also less likelihood that policies will be constantly changed, since the minister, though a party leader in the chambers, is surrounded in his administrative bureaus by a permanent corps of officials, familiar with what has been previously attempted. Such a system may be as effective as military rule and yet be free from the characteristic evils of barrack-room government.
LOCAL MACHINERY OF CONTROL UTILIZED. As French rule in Indo-China was extended and its character changed, the local machinery of control was necessarily reconstructed on a more elaborate scale. In 1879 Cochin-China passed from the hands of the admirals to a civil régime. Le Myre de Villers was the first governor. His jurisdiction covered also the protectorate of Cambodia. And upon the renewal of the trouble in Tonkin, in 1882, it was he who sent Commander Rivière to protect French interests. But, as soon as the war was ended, the new protectorate was administered seperately, as has already been explained, by a resident general, living in Hue, and responsible to the minister of foreign affairs. After three years' experience with the plan of divided responsibility, all Indo-China was united by decree, October 17, 1887, and all residential officers subordinated to a governor-general. This union revealed the tendency gradually to subject the whole territory to a single administrative system.
The decree of October 17, which created the union, was supplemented by another three days later, which hindered its effectiveness by making the appointment of the governor-general and the higher officers of the protectorates dependent upon the joint recommendation of two ministers—the minister of foreign affairs and the minister of marine. Furthermore, no military operation could be begun without the consent of the minister of foreign affairs, and to him were to be addressed copies of the regular reports required from Indo-China.
To what extent this system of dual control was practically injurious it is not possible to say. At all events, the disorders that afflicted Tonkin and the unsettled condition of Cambodia were not remedied.
ADDITIONAL POWER TO THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL.
After four years more it was decided to try the radical expedient of placing in the hands of the governor-general the most ample powers. In the language of the decree itself, issued April 21, 1891, he was made “the depositary of the powers of the Republic in French Indo-China." He now stood forth the rival of the governor-general of British India and of the governor-general of the Dutch East Indies.
To define his powers more in detail, the military and naval forces were subject to his orders, all civil officers were his subordinates; their appointment was dependent upon his recommendation, or, in case of minor positions, was his sole prerogative, and the higher officers-residents, directors, magistrates, etc. -could also be suspended by him. Moreover, he was to be the sole medium of communication with the home Government. Evidently, it was the intention of the decree to prevent conflicts of authority and to give petty jealousies no route back to Paris. But at least one bypath was soon discovered, and the first governor-general felt that his credit at home was being industriously mined. Every year the commander of the troops was ordered to send a report of the inspections directly to the minister of the marine. This document, not passing through the hands of the governor-general, Offered the protection of its seal to all sorts of statements, in one case, at least, directed definitely against the governor-general. But the new plan has worked well on the whole, and Indo-China's history has been less checkered since 1891. The natives were no longer obliged to serve two jealous mastersthe civil and military authorities.
It is unnecessary to describe the elaborate administrative machinery put under the control of the governor-general. Mere mechanism is not significant, unless a particular device in governmental machinery is chosen as the best instrument for carrying into effect some policy. It is sufficient to note that the hierarchy consisted of a lieutenant-governor in Cochin-China, resident superieurs placed at the head of affairs in Cambodia, Tonkin, and Anam, with residents and vice-residents subordinate to them. The duties of these officials varied according to the character of French rule in each part of Indo-China. For example, in Tonkin many of the mandarins, who served the Anamite government, intrigued persistently against French influence, and were removed. Their successors were thoroughly under French control.
Although the powers of the governor-general have been diminished since 1891, seriously, according to Lanessan, the system of single control still remains. But its effectiveness has been impaired by a misuse of the appointing power reserved to the ministry.
TIIE SPOILS SYSTEM.
To give Indo-China administrative autonomy was one of the aims of the decree of 1891. In this way alone could the dependency be guarded against the worse effects of the spoils system. When Lanessan reached Indo-China he found complaints that inexperienced men had been put into important places over the heads of others who had served the government faithfully, and had acquired a just claim to promotion. Certain officers boasted “that they had gained all their grades in Paris, and rallied their colleagues, who were without influence.” Lanessan even says, “It was not rare that an officer, dismissed for disobediance, wrong-doing, or incapacity, returned with his rank raised."
This was not the only chronic evil that afflicted the administration. The French have carried the principle of organization into many branches of the colonial service, and have given to each its hierarchy of positions, which the ambitious young man may aspire to reach grade by grade. This may be correct in theory, but it would imply an empire homogeneous in race, customs, and language. And yet just such differences were often ignored up to 1891 and even later.
The decree of 1891 protected Indo-China against most of these disorders. Administrators and residents were largely recruited in the dependency itself, and were not in danger of seeing their well-earned promotions snatched from them by political deals in Paris.
A certain number of the candidates were to be furnished by the École Coloniale at Paris. These men had been trained for the work they were to do, but they were without practical experience. While Lanessan was governor-general, and doubtless since that time, these men upon their arrival in the colony were expected to serve an apprenticeship of at least eighteen months, with some résident-superieur or some provincial administrator, and at a place where they would find facilities for technical instruction in the elements of their craft.
But the condition of the magistracy was not bettered by the decree. It was still possible to bring them from the ends of the earth and set them down in Cochin-China, regardless of the injury done to the administration of justice by intrusting it to men who, though well-meaning, were unacquainted with the language, customs, and legal traditions in the local courts. Such a magistrate was at the mercy of an interpreter. About him might gather a body of attorneys, rabatteurs, who found it to their own interest to multiply legal controversies, even among a people inclined to carry everything to the courts. Under the old system of free administration of justice this fashion was harmless, but with the new French courts it was a means of ruining the natives who resorted to them.
There was another danger. The magistrates who had been long in the country, seeing that the higher positions were to be gained by favor, and not earned by fidelity in the service, became discouraged and left the country. Occasionally a judge who had served well in Cochin-China was promoted to a position elsewhere at the time when his labors were becoming most valuable.
Added to these defects in the system of appointment was the equally great evil cf the multiplication of places. Ten years ago the officeholders formed a large part of the whole French population of Cochin-China. The under secretary of state in charge of the colonies declared in 1891 that the total appropriation for public works—80,000 francs--was for that year spent in salaries. As the colonial council of Cochin-China was elected by officeholders and contractors—that is, practically all the Frenchmen in the colony-it voted high salaries and fat contracts, until the home government put an end to such looting of the treasury for the benefit of a few hundred individuals by applying the surplus to the needs of the other Indo-Chinese possessions.
ADOPTING LOCAL MACHINERY OF CONTROL.
One of the most interesting phases of any colonial experiment is the attempt to adjust the machinery of control to the existing institutions. In very few instances would it be safe or wise to substitute a new administrative system for one which is intrenched behind the custom of years or perhaps of generations. The French have had too much experience in the art of colonization to make such a blunder in its baldest form, but certain efforts of theirs have shown a tendency in this direction.
According to the treaty of 1884 with Anam, the residents and their subordinates were not to interfere with the details of provincial administration in Tonkin, although upon their demand the native officials could be dismissed. And within the limits of Anam itself the officers of the Anamite government were to carry on their administration undisturbed. The customs service was reserved for French management, with the truly omnibus addition of “en général, les services qui exigent une direction unique ou l'emploi d'ingénieurs ou d'agents européens." The resident-general was to reside within the citadel at Hue, and was to control the foreign · relations of the empire as his principal duty.
This was the aim of the treaty, but it was carried out in a spirit suggested by the continued disturbances, both in Tonkin and in Anam.
In Tonkin the French feared the influence of the mandarins. Moreover, these men exposed themselves to attack because of their extortions before the beginning of the French régime. Consequently the residents worked to diminish their power. This, in a measure, disorganized the administration and rendered the work of control more burdensome. Such a policy was really unnecessary, for the mandarins were intelligent enough to discover that France had come to stay, and that if they had been handled carefully, so that they might “save their face" before the multitude, little trouble need have been feared from them.
In Anam the treaty was not respected even to this degree. Everywhere the Anamite officers found themselves under the orders of either the residents or of the soldiers, often of both. The mandarins grew desperate and a formal protest was sent to the President of France. This document declared that the least infraction of orders was to be severely punished. Furthermore, if the mandarins consulted the residents, the army officers were angry; if, on the other hand, they took their orders from the officers, they were rebuked by the residents.
A still more serious blunder was embodied in the Cambodian treaty of 1884. This shattered the social and administrative fabric of the Kingdom at a stroke. An attempt had been made to abolish slavery in 1877, but it had failed. The treaty renewed this attempt, destroying an important part of native property without compensation. It also provided that individual property in land should be substituted for the old system, by which the title of the whole vested in the King. And with a shrewd look into the future it comprehensively forced upon the King - toutes les réformes administratives, judiciares, financières, et commerciales aux quelles le gouvernement de la Republique française jugera a l'avenir utile pour faciliter l'accomplissement de son protectorat.”
It is not surprising that such a treaty could not be carried out until after resistance had been overcome by force, or until an object lesson had been given the King and the aristocracy to show them what advantages they might gain from the arrangement.
The opportunity came in connection with the sorest spot of all—the finances. When Le Myre de Villers was governor of CochinChina, he had taken from the King's control the revenue coming from the tariff, the taxes on alcohol, opium, etc.,
and had used them to pay the expenses of the protectorate. They were barely sufficient for this, because a staff had to be maintained for the collection, so that 30 per cent of the income was consumed in collecting it. Moreover, these collectors, taken from the customs service of CochinChina, and independent of the resident at Pnom-Penh, often played the petty tyrant and compromised the reputation of the protectorate.
These evils were incidental. But the main trouble was that the King found that out of a total revenue of $1,100,000 (Mexican), $650,000 were taken from him. To make up the loss, he resorted to the desperate expedient of farming certain of the taxes left him, negotiating with Chinese traders for a lump sum. These Chinamen grew rich by extortion, in spite of the fact that they were obliged to concede douceurs, after the manner of the old régime in France, to the women and favorites about the court.
It was not until Lanessan came out as governor-general that this desperate state of affairs was remedied and the other provisions of the treaty were enforced. He had been in Cambodia on a tour of inspection in 1887, and had suggested to the King the wisdom of consolidating the two budgets of the protectorate, and of organizing a common treasury. But, in the face of opposition from CochinChina, the scheme could not be carried through. When he resumed the negotiations the King readily consented, without formal treaty, to put into effect, January 1, 1892, the reforms which had been suggested. Lanessan then assigned on the budget a civil list larger than the King's previous income. He also won the mandarins by paying them adequate salaries for the duties they were accustomed to perform. This was done without raising the tax rate, on the supposition that with better management the taxes would be more productive. In several instances the rate was actually lowered. Although the French were henceforth to control the collection of the direct taxes, as well as the customs duties, etc., the old collectors were not dismissed; they were simply reorganized so that the danger of oppression and peculation would be lessened.
The results of this reform were noteworthy. Complaints of extortion were almost unheard. The taxes produced more at the low rate than at the higher rate previously fixed. The estimated receipts were $1,238,190, while the actual receipts were $1,578,130. This gave the Government the opportunity to complete certain needed public improvements in the capital. The King could become reconciled to a protectorate of this sort, and since 1892 Cambodia has given little trouble.
The French have showed no disposition within the limits of the old Anamite Empire to interfere with local administration, as this was centered in the commune. They have even made some attempts to set its machinery in motion in Cambodia, where it did not exist. * * *
FRENCH LAWS INTRODUCED.
As in the last days of the Roman Empire the Germans brought into southern Europe their law as a personal possession and privilege, and still allowed the Romans to be judged according to their own laws, so the Frenchman has carried into Indo-China his codes and liberties, his right to local self-Government and to representation in the chamber of deputies, without thereby disturbing the social organization, customs, and laws of the Anamites.
There has been one tentative step toward assimilation particularly interesting, and this is the colonial council of Cochin-China. In 1880, when it was created, the minister of the marine declared that the measure was dictated “by his constant purpose to prepare, by successive acts, the advent of the institutions of the metropolis among our peoples beyond the seas.” Besides four members, two chosen by the Saigon Chamber of Commerce and two by the privy council, there are twelve elected members, sis elected by the Frenchmen residing in Cochin-China, and six by a college of delegates, who are in turn elected by the notables of each municipality. Every precaution is taken lest this assembly become an embarrassment to the administration. The annual sessions can last only twenty days, unless prorogued for a further period of ten days by the governor-general, who may also suspend the sittings at any time. He, moreover, appoints the president. There can be no debate upon political matters, nor even a political wish expressed. The council can do but four carefully defined things—it can issue decrees regulating private property; it can deliberate, subject to the governor-general's approval, upon finances and taxation; it can express its opinion upon tariffs, octrois de mer, etc.; and it can send protests to the ministry. in France. It is simply a school for training in the forms of representative government.
A FRENCH VIEW OF THE SHARE WHICH EUROPEANS AND NATIVES SHOULD HAVE IN THE GOVERNMENT
OF THE COLONY.
M. de Lanessan, the present French minister of marine, formerly governor-general of Indo-China, and who had prior to that service had long experience in the French colonies and abundant opportunity to observe the methods in the English colonies, in his work, “Principes de Colonisation, discusses the question of the relations of the Europeans and natives in official life and the duties of European officials in the colonies, the methods of their selection, etc., as follows:
COLONIES SHOULD NOT BE EXPLOITED BY EUROPEANS.
I believe that in order to make the colonies prosperous, and furthermore, to acquire the sympathy and confidence of the people, we ought to strive, first of all and chiefly, to protect the former against the proclivities on the part of the Europeans of exploiting them. Our laws and our codes ought to be introduced there as little as possible, and each colony ought to have the right to adopt for itself a system of legislation adapted to the particular necessities of the country and the habits of the natives. As regards our administration and political organization, they ought to be shaped with the view of protecting the natives, of attracting him without violence toward our civilization, of reducing his charges in the largest possible degree; and, moreover, of putting him in a position to appreciate by himself the advantages of our intervention with the affairs of his country. From all the facts stated above, a certain number of principles and rules may be reduced, which I think worth the while to sum up as follows:
GOVERNMENTAL CONTROL OF COLONIES IN A PRIMITIVE STATE IS NECESSARY.
If the people of the colonies are yet in a state of more or less distinct barbarism, such as certain people of Africa, those of New Caledonia, Guiana, many tribes of Laos and Madagascar, etc., the colonizing nation is obliged to take into its hands the direction of the administrative affairs; but while doing it, it should make use as much as possible of the tribal chiefs and the heads of the more important families, so as to show its intention of not breaking with the local customs. Moreover, it would do well to treat the customs, habits, ideas, the religion, and even the prejudices of the natives in such a manner as to earn sympathies which might be utilized in order to introduce gradually progress and civilization.
RESPECT THE LOCAL ORGANIZATION WHERE POSSIBLE.
If the people in the colony, as for instance the people of Anam, Cambodia, the Hovas, etc., possess a more or less complete political and administrative organization, the latter ought to be not only respected, but even loyally utilized. A protectorate would, in such cases, seem to be the only proper régime. The latter, while sincere, ought, however, at the same time to be effective; that is, 'the protecting nation ought to find the means of gaining the confidence of the people and the protected government to such a degree that nothing going on in the country should remain unknown to it, and that its ruling influence may extend without violence and with the
consent of all to the smallest details of administration, and make itself felt in all conditions and parts of the country. In this matter the texts of treaties have but a secondary importance. The moral, political, and administrative worth of the governors and their subordinates, however, have an importance much superior to that of diplomatic documents, acts, or decrees. The best of these acts in the hands of unskillful people produce nothing but disorder, insurrection, and misery. The very worst, in the hands of experienced and well-informed men, may be sufficient to create peace and harmony between the protector and the protectorate, and assure the prosperity of the protected country, while serving at the same time the interests of the protecting country.
REDUCE THE MILITARY CONTROL TO A MINIMUM.
As regards military action it is best to reduce it even in the most barbarous countries, and during periods of rebellions to the lowest possible degree; never should the direction of affairs in a colony be intrusted to the military authorities. By dint of its education, personal interests, and exciting surroundings the army is irresistibly pushed toward the abusive use of force. It tends less toward prevention of disorder than its suppression, and the losses which it suffers serve but to push it on to bloody expeditions, for the death of some results in the advancement of others.
RULING BY FORCE THE MOST DIFFICULT METHOD.
Moreover, the further we go the harder it becomes to rule even the most savage people by mere force. The European nations are more and more furnishing to the people beyond the seas whom we want to colonize, the rapid-firing weapons which are made use of by them, to attack or resist our rule. The material interests of Europe then, as well as humanitarian considerations, condemn violence and force as a means of colonization.
OBSERVE THE GREATEST LOYALTY IN DEALING WITH THE NATIVES. Before all, however, we must observe the greatest possible loyalty in our relations with the natives, whatever the stage of civilization they may have arrived at. We are in the habit of speaking of “Oriental duplicity.” We should be careful, however, not to give occasion to the people who are less civilized than ourselves, and with whom we come in contact, to speak of “Occidental duplicity.”
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE MALAY FEDERATED STATES AND THE SHARE OF THE EUROPEANS
AND NATIVES, RESPECTIVELY, IN THEIR ADMINISTRATION.
The government and methods of administration in the communities of the Malayan Peninsula, which were a few years ago brought under British direction and order and good government brought out of confusion and misrule, are looked upon by many as an especially interesting object lesson, in view of the similarity of conditions there to those in the Philippines, both as to race, climate, and general location. The present system of government consists of a high commissioner, who is the governor-general of the adjoining Straits Settlements. In each Malayan State there is a British resident-general, who is responsible to the high commissioner and who consults with and aids the sultan or native ruler of the State in making and administering laws. In addition to this there is in each State an elective council, which enacts laws and regulations, except those relating to finance; but these are subject to the approval of the high commissioner, who also establishes the financial system. These legislative councils of the various States also meet annually in a joint council for the discussion of topics of finance and general administration and make recommendations to the State councils and to the high commissioner. Uniform courts of justice and procedure have been established in various States, in some of the more important of these British magistrates presiding, while less important cases are tried before the native headman. The police system includes about 2,000 persons, of which number about 30 are Europeans. Under this general system the States have prospered greatly. Their total revenue, which in 1895 amounted to $8,481,007, was in 1899 $14,733,001. The commercial development has been equally rapid and gratifying. The exports have increased from $31,622,805 in 1895 to $54,895,139 in 1899, and the imports from $23,653,271 in 1895 to $33,765,073 in 1899. Railway construction is making rapid progress, roads being opened, telegraph lines built, and the productive capacity of the country greatly increased. The area is in round terms 25,000 square miles and the population 500,000.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT.
The following account of the organization and administration of the Federated Malay States is from the New York Tribune of January 20, 1899:
Twenty-five years ago to-day the engagement of Pangkor was made. The anniversary may pass unmarked by ceremonial, but it guggests an ancient saw: “What man hath done,” said the old copybooks, "man may do again. The saying is as true as it is trite. Especially true is it when the men who strived are akin to those who achieved, and when the attempt is made in circumstances like those in which the former task was done. It will be of interest, and perhaps instructive and inspiring, then to recall what has recently been done in the way of governing East Indian tribes, since the men who have done it are of our own blood, speech, and temperament, and the tribes governed bear a close resemblance in character and condition to those which the fortunes of war have committed to our charge in the Philippine Archipelago. Here is a plain tale, not from the hills, but from the straits; the story of a quarter of a century of Anglo-Saxon administration in the Golden Chersonese :
THE CAUSES OF BRITISH INTERVENTION.
First, the causes that led to British intervention in the Malay States. It is the same old story. Time was when the Malay States of the peninsula between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea enjoyed a fairly settled government, of a primitive type. That was about the time when Portuguese adventurers began to explore and to exploit that quarter of the globe. During the sixteenth century the Portuguese traders found security and encouragement in those States. But it was their fatuous policy to take
all they could get from the natives in the way of profit, and to give them nothing in the way of instruction and civilization. Such was the policy of the Dutch, also, who followed them at Malacca in 1641; and that was, indeed, the general policy of all European nations in those days toward those whom they deemed inferior races.
The result was natural. The limited contact with Europeans did the natives no good, and much harm. They absorbed the vices but not the virtues of the visitors. Their native Governments declined in authority and power. Population decreased. Trade suffered. Wars on land and piracy at sea became chronic and widely prevalent. There was no order nor security outside the walls of the foreign "factories.” Early in the present century the British East India Company acquired its Straits Settlements and introduced a new foreign factor into the problem. It was a new, but not a different, factor. The British pursued practically the same policy as the Portuguese and Dutch. They held aloof from the native States, and left the latter to “stew in their own juice.” And when in time the British Crown succeeded the East India Company, and the Indian Empire was established, the same policy was maintained. The condition of the native states went steadily from bad to worse. The Malay chiefs and sultans could not keep order, or would not, and the secret societies in the large Chinese population constantly fomented trouble. On land there was a wretched mixture of tyranny and anarchy, and on the seas piracy prevailed as nowhere else in the world.
BARBARISH OR GOVERNMENT BY EXPERIENCED HANDS. Such a state of affairs could not last forever. Unable to stand alone, the States were doomed either to fall into utter barbarisın or to be made objects of ruthless and selfish conquest, unless some benevolent power should come to their aid. In their extremity some of the native chiefs of Perak, Selangor, and Nogri Sembilan turned to the British governor of the Straits Settlements for salvation. They asked him to intervene in their domestic affairs and rescue the land from anarchy. Nor was the choice of a savior ill-made.
Great Britain had, as we have seen, held aloof from the native States, just as Portugal and Holland had done. Perhaps she had actually come less into contact with them than had either of the others. She was of an entirely different race and creed and manner from those nations and from the native States. She was as foreign and as strange, that is to say, to the Malays as we are to the Filipinos. That in itself was an advantage. She had, moreover, this other inestimable advantage, that she was a country of the most complete civil and religious liberty and therefore was exceptionally well fitted to deal with States populated partly by Mohammedans, partly by Chinese Buddhists, and partly by utter pagans. It will not escape observation that the Philippines, too, are largely thus populated, about onethird of the people and some of the most important native chieftains being Mohammedans, while a large Chinese population exists, permeated by secret societies; nor is it to be assumed that Americans are less inclined to tolerance of creeds and to civil liberty than is the other branch of the English-speaking race.
APPEAL FOR BRITISH AID. That the Malay chiefs took these facts into account in appealing to the British governor does not appear. They knew him simply as a just man and an able and successful administrator. Nor does it appear that he engaged the consideration of the British Government in the matter. On the contrary, he seems to have acted upon his personal responsibility and to have taken counsel only with himself. He responded favorably to the Malay appeal. He went to Perak and investigated the state of the case. He talked it over with the Sultan of Perak, who was with difficulty holding his place against a rival claimant of the throne, and with the chief men of that and other States. And finally, without seeking special authority from the home Government and without any preliminary flourish of proclamatory trumpets, he made with the native rulers of the three States named the engagement of Pangkor.' That memorable instrument was framed and signed on January 20, 1874-just twenty-five years ago--and it marked the dawn of the new era in the Malay Peninsula.
Under this engagement the native rulers were confirmed in their places. The title of the Sultan of Perak was confirmed against the pretender. The general administration of affairs, including the collection of taxes, the appointment of officials, etc., was to be conducted in the name of the native sultans and chiefs. In form everything was to go on just as before; but there was to be thenceforth a British resident in the country, whose advice was to be asked by the native rulers and was to be acted upon in all matters not pertaining to the religion and customs of the natives; and under him there were to be a few other British officers. Otherwise the government was to be conducted by the natives.
In putting this system into effect Sir Andrew Clarke had regard for the primitive, almost childlike, nature of the natives, and aimed at controlling them chiefly by personal influence. He had personal interviews with the native chiefs and persuaded them that good government would be to their personal advantage. They would have the same pomp and power as before, and perhaps an even larger revenue. To such presentments of the case he found them willing to listen, and by them to be swayed. The allegiance of the Malays was thus readily gained for his administration. With the Chinese he dealt with similar tact. He did not make the blunder of trying to repress or to suppress the secret societies. On the contrary, he encouraged them to maintain their organizations, and to meet openly. But he gave the headmen of them to understand that they would be held personally responsible for the conduct of the societies. The result was that the leaders became his lieutenants, and transformed the societies into agencies for supporting the administration.
The financial affairs of the States needed and received especial attention. Tax-gathering had been farmed out, and had been conducted by the familiar oriental method of “squeezing." Sir Andrew proposed to stop all that. The revenue was to be put upon a business basis. Taxes were to be honestly levied and collected under British supervision, and the sultans and chiefs were to receive stated civil lists. Thus the actual revenue to the governments of the States would be increased, while the burden upon the people would be decreased. Finally, he aimed at making commerce and industry secure and abolishing slavery. To such extent would he impose alien practices on the natives. For the execution of this scheme he made only five appointments of British oficers, namely, a resident for each of the three States, and an assistant resident for each of two of them. These he chose after careful examination and trial in other official places, with sole regard to their fitness for the duties they were to perform. They were men who had experience in dealing with the natives, who were familiar with the native languages and customs, and who possessed both energy and tact. These officers held courts of justice, which they conducted in some such informal manner as that of the courts of frontier settlements—a system that strongly appealed to the Malays. They organized a native police service, closely supervised the collection of taxes, and in general endeavored to run the country” for the greatest good of the governed.
HOW THE OBSTACLES WERE MET.
Obstacles arose. That was to be expected. They were partly native and partly British. It was not until he had made the engagement of Pangkor and organized the administration under it that Sir Andrew Clarke sought the sanction of his governmental superiors. He first reported what he had done to the Straits Government at Singapore, and asked its sanction for his “imperialistico policy, which was conditionally granted. The approval of the London Government was not so readily and fully secured. Finicky critics there were afraid he was trampling upon the rights of the natives; that he would not make his residents suficiently abase themselves and exalt the sultans and chiefs. Nevertheless, though with fear and trembling, they let him go.
Other troubles arose from the native chiefs. They presently began to show backsliding tendencies. They wanted to squeeze the taxpayers, as of old, and to play fast and loose with the rights of property and life. In brief, they wanted to get all the good they could out of the engagement, but not to be themselves bound by it. Perhaps the most obstreperous of them all was that very Sultan of Perak, who owed his throne to British intervention.
Happily, Sir Andrew Clarke was both prompt and resolute in action, as a man must be to deal with such matters. He kindly but firmly read the riot act. He told the Sultan of Perak and the rest of the disaffected chiefs flatly what they must do and must not do. "Must” is a word whose meaning is understood by such folk far better than “ought.” He did not, however, neglect to enforce the moral obligation, as well as the physical necessity of obedience. He quoted the Koran to the Sultan, with good effect, and succeeded in convincing him that his interests in both this world and the next required him to observe faithfully the terms of the engagement. The Sultan yielded, though reluctantly, and to console himself took not to drink, but to opium, and soon became a wreck. Then his old rival cropped up again with a formidable backing, and there was danger of civil war or anareny.
At this juncture Sir Andrew Clarke was succeeded by Sir William Jervois, also a man of firm and decisive character. He unhesitatingly told the chiefs that if they would not listen to British advice, as they had agreed to in the engagement, they would have to yield to British control. If they would not or could not keep the engagement, the British Government would take the administration of affairs into its own hands, in both
name and fact. They hesitated and quibbled. Then some Mohammedan fanatics murdered the British residents in Perak. Instantly Sir William ordered in a body of Indian troops. The action of the latter was brief, but emphatic and decisive. The insurgents were crushed and cowed with a single blow. The people and the chiefs alike were made to realize that British power was as irresistible as British rule was just and benevolent. The Perak murderers were taken, tried, convicted, and punished. The faithless or worthless Sultan was sent out of the country, and a regent put into his place. And in a twinkling order was restored and the authority of the British residents established. There has been no outbreak since.