Imágenes de páginas

the peninsula called respectively Province Wellesley and the Dindings, and yet another strip of the mainland called Malacca, lying between Singapore and Penang: The country from which Singapore is divided by a narrow but deep channel is Johor, and between Johor and Province Wellesley lie all the States over which we have established our influence since 1874. They are, going northwards from Johor, the Negri Sembilan or Nine States, at the back of Malacca, and Pahang to the east and north of them; then Selangor, and, lastly, Perak, the northern district of which marches with Province Wellesley. It is convenient here to state that on the east coast there are two independent Malay States, Trengganu and Kelantan, north of Pahang. There are also a number of small States (formerly called Patâni), under Siamese influence, to the north and west of Kelantan, and there is the State of Kedah (now also under Siamese control) to the north of Province Wellesley. It was from the Raja of Kedah that the East India Company purchased the island of Penang and the strip of mainland called Province Wellesley in 1786, and one of the conditions of that purchase was that the ruler of Kedah should be protected against his enemies. The honorable company, however, failed to observe that condition of the bargain, and the Siamese shortly afterwards attacked and conquered Kedah, driving the sultan to an asylum in the company's territory.


These are dull particulars, but they are necessary to convey some vague idea of the geographical position of the remote countries in whose later history I wish to interest you, and also to make it clear that if "the Straits Settlements’ —which, in truth, suggests nothing at all-is but an empty sound to those who live 8,000 miles away, it is certainly curious that while the colony in part was actually on the Malay Peninsula its inhabitants, with few exceptions, knew almost as little of the rest of the land as they might be expected to know of Patagonia.

As to the state of ignorance regarding the Malay Peninsula and its inhabitants in 1874, I can speak from personal knowledge, without fear of contradiction, and, so far as I have been able to ascertain, our predecessors were not much better informed than we were, and no one who has left any written record of his experience knew any more of the interior than could be learned by the briefest and most cursory visit to some place of comparatively easy access. I may, however, dismiss the subject with the statement that my friend, Mr. Clifford, the newly appointed resident of Pahang, was, so far as we know, the first white man who ever got any distance into Trengganu and Kelantan. His journey was made last year, and he went not alone, but as the leader of a considerable armed expedition.


So much for the country and our knowledge of it. As no one could guide us to the place, it will be understood that we were hopelessly ignorant of the people. I am not going to draw the Malay for you-1 have done that elsewhere—but I question whether there was in 1874 an Eastern race more difficult for an Englishman to approach, to conciliate, to understand, or to appreciate. The native of the Golden Chersonese has been well styled “the mysterious Malay." When we first attempted to help him and teach him how to help himself, he was an unread book to us, a book written in a language we did not understand, a book of which we had scarcely seen the cover: Beyond this the Malay did not want us. His jungles and rivers were all suflicing; his traditions told him nothing of the white man, except that a few had come to trade with him in the past centuries, but they had either left of their own accord or he had got rid of thenı by his own peculiar methods, and no real punishment had overtaken the murderers of an isolated garrison or the pirates of a lonely sailing ship. The up-country Malay used to be so little of a traveler that, in the days I speak of, few of those who lived 50 miles from the sea had ever seen it, and this, added to the fact that no stranger ever trusted himself into the fastness of the peninsula, will explain the extraordinary ignorance of the people as to all matters beyond the narrow confines, not only of their own States, but of their own villages. When I first went into the Malay States the Malays of Pêrak laughed at the idea of a British soldier or sailor ever making his way through their roadless forests, and there is no doubt they believed that if they could get rid of Mr. J. W. Birch and me, the only two white men they knew, no others would ever come to seek satisfaction of them.

In order to appreciate the people, to secure their trust and sympathy, it was necessary to get to them, to speak to them, to understand them, to conciliate them. It was an undertaking for which we were not then qualified, and I have insisted upon the premises because I wish you to understand the real nature of the task we undertook in trying to make ourselves, our methods of government, our ways of life and of looking at things, acceptable to the mysterious, the dignified, the suspicious, the high-spirited Malay. Add to what I have already said that the foreigner, the interloper, the introducer of new and distasteful ideas was at least a professing Christian, while the Malay was something more than a professing Mohammedan, and you have the outlines of the terms on which we entered, with characteristic lightheartedness, into a position that has, I believe, no exact parallel in English administrative experiments.

With such antagonistic elements it is hardly surprising that the first development should have been the assassination of the officer who represented the uprooting of old Malay life and the passage of power from hereditary Mohammedan chiefs to the dictate of an unknown but infidel stranger. It is true the solitary white man had foreseen this contingency and had told the people to whom he was sent that behind him was a power that, having once set its hand to the plow, never looked back; but it was natural that the Malays, circumstanced as I have described them, should smile at this statement and prefer to believe that the white man was seeking his own profit and aggrandizement and had nothing to support him beyond what they could see.


It will be asked how and why we were in the Peninsula at all, at least in that part of it beyond the confines of the colony. If I try to answer this question with the brevity necessary to the time at my disposal, you will understand that a real explanation of the causes which led up to our interference in the Malay States in 1874 can not be given in such narrow limits.

The highest British authority in the Straits of Malacca is the governor of the colony I have already named. The settlements contained in it formed an Indian presidency, first under the old company and then under the Indian government, until, in 1867, they were converted into a Crown colony by desire of the European inhabitants. Outside their proper jurisdiction the Indian and colonial governors of the Straits had always had to deal with what had been to them a serious bugbear, the independent Malay States, of which they knew practically nothing, except that they were the hotbeds of internal feud and external piracy and raid; that they were the cause of constant trouble in themselves and complaint from British subjects; that no satisfaction whatever was to be got out of them under any circumstances; and that the distant authority to which the governor felt he must refer these extraterritorial questions invariably declined to consent to any measures of coercion being taken to bring recalcitrant Malay rajas to reason, or to enforce any orders or advice which the governor might think it necessary or expedient to offer. So much was this the case that British subjects in the Straits were warned that, if they chose to seek adventure or profit in the Malay States, they would do it at their own risk, and it was concluded that if they got into trouble they could get themselves out of it without any hope of assistance from the British Government. In the face of modern views of British expansion all this sounds very long ago and far away, but it was as I have stated until Lieut. Gen. Sir Andrew Clarke became governor of the Straits in 1873. With his coming there was a change of policy, and as, at that moment, the state of the Peninsula was at its very worst, Sir Andrew Clarke took advantage of the position and of his instructions to put an end to a condition of affairs that had become well-nigh intolerable. I will not pretend to describe the circumstances; I have partially done so in another paper; but the most violent struggles were going on in Perak and Selangar, both Mi uys and Chinese being equally concerned, and both States were being rapidly depopulated. The small States around Malacca (now happily united into one) were each and all in a state of ferment, if not of open fighting, and, worse than all, these quarrels on our borders were spreading to the colony; our police stations were attacked, the Penang house of a rich Pêrak chief was actually blown up, in the hope of destroying its owner, and every day peaceful British subjects sailing through the Straits of Malacca were murdered and their vessels looted and burned. It is necessary to add that these proceedings continued for months, in spite of the fact that British war vessels were doing all in their power to protect the shipping and secure the pirates. Owing to the nature of the coast, a complete network of creeks known only to

[ocr errors]

the pirates and guarded by an immense mud bank, the efforts of our navy were without result, and matters culminated in an attack by the pirates on boats manned by British crews, when two naval officers were seriously wounded.

That seemed to be provocation enough, and the Government of the day must, I think, have determined that something ought to be done; what that something should be, Sir Andrew Clarke, with characteristic promptitude, very soon decided. A Pêrak raja had written to the governor explaining that he, the rightful heir to the position of sultan, had been supplanted. The raja asked for the governor's assistance to secure his birthright, and also requested that a British officer might be sent to him to teach the art of administration, offering at the same time to provide him with a suitable residence and to defray the cost of his salary and all other expenses out of the revenues of the country. I believe that this was the first suggestion of the residential idea, and, if I am right, it is both curious and interesting that it should have originated, even in its crudest form, in the Malay States. An experienced officer was sent to Perak to make ipquiries, and his report was to the effect that this raja's claims were good, but that, for various reasons, mainly traceable to his own neglect of established customs, he had been passed over in favor of a man who did not, on his father's side, belong to the ruling family of Perak. That was for the Malay question interesting enough in its way, but it was like others that had preceded it in other States without leading to any interference on our part. At this time there were many thousands of Chinese mining in Perak, and the war of Chinese factions, already answerable for such incidents as the slaughter of 3,000 people in one day, a naval engagement which would make a story of its own, the violent antagonism of Chinese secret societies in the neighboring colony, and the daily acts of piracy in the Straits of Malacca, were, however, new factors in Malay politics, and they seriously threatened, if they had not already disturbed, the

peace of the British settlements. Governor Sir Andrew Clarke's instructions were to inquire into and report upon Malay affairs, specially the advisability of appointing a British officer to reside in Malay, but he saw that this was an emergency where half measures were useless, and, having first secured the acceptance by the Chinese of his arbitration in their quarrel, he summoned the Pêrak chiefs to a meeting and made with them the treaty of January 20, 1874, by which Raja Abdullah was acknowledged to be Sultan of Perak, and provision was made for the appointment of a British officer, to be styled British resident, whose advice was to be asked and acted upon in all matters other than those affecting the Mohammedan religion or Malay custom. This officer was also, by the treaty, intrusted with the collection and expenditure of all the revenues of the State.

I leave you to imagine the difficulties and dangers of that officer's position. The first man who undertook it, or rather the first who actually held the substantive appointment and attempted to discharge its duties, was Mr. J. W. W. Birch, the colonial secretary of the Straits Settlements. His abilities were great, his energy extraordinary, but he did not speak Malay or understand the people with whom he had to deal. He was murdered in November, 1875-murdered to satisfy the hatred of foreign interference, the intolerance of the white man's control--and it is extremely likely that at that time a better knowledge of things Malayan would not have saved the British representative. His death was very amply avenged; none of his actual murderers escaped, and many of those who had openly or surreptitiously consented to the crime also paid the penalty of their participation in it. More than this, the country was occupied by British troops for months, and the Malays, to their intense surprise, saw both the British soldier and bluejacket in inland strongholds where no white face had ever before been seen, save perhaps that of the man whose death they had come to avenge.

This expedition, and the cause of it, were not incidents of Sir Andrew Clarke's government; he had already left the Straits, and it was only at the moment of his departure that the small cloud of possible trouble first appeared on the horizon. The Pêrak difficulty seemed to be solved, and Sir Andrew had at once taken up the cases of Selangor and Sungei Ujong, placing British residents in both of them, and in the latter having to deal with the armed resistance of a dissatistied chief, who, after defeat, tied the State, and eventually took up his residence in Singapore.

Sungei Ljong and the Negri Sembilan subsequently were the scenes of considerable fighting, and both of them experienced the benefits of occupation by a British military expedition. I say benefits advisedly. I do not mean that a military expedition is all benefit to those against whom it is sent--far from it; but I mean that in the Malay of those days no amount of good advice, no sacrifice of individual lives, no missionary effort even, could have done so much for the Malays, or, to speak candidly, for us, as this show of force. The actual amount of damage done in killing, wounding, or looting was very small indeed; everyone was treated as a friend who did not conclusively prove himself to be an enemy, and the people had very little feeling in the matter; but the chiefs, who alone had anything to lose by our advent, realized at last that the British power really existed, and could make itself felt in a way that was as novel to them as it was disagreeable.

You are now in possession of the facts which led to the acceptance of a Malay invitation to send a British officer to teach British methods of administration; you understand how that idea was extended to all the States from Penang to Malacca, and you will realize that, having set the western side of the Malay house in order, it followed, as surely as day follows night, that we should be compelled to deal similarly with the east coast, and Pahang, the southernmost of those eastern States, has already passed under our protection, and, if it has given trouble, we may fairly hope that its future will be no less prosperous than that of its western neighbors.


I now come to that part of my subject which is perhaps of the greatest interest. It is this: Having been given what, if you like, we will call an opportunity-not perhaps a very attractive one-how did we deal with it? How did we treat the people who invited us to send them a teacher, and then, having obtained the real end they sought, murdered their guest?

You may fairly say that my words convey a suggestion which is incorrect. It was not the Malay people who asked for the British offical; it was a disappointed Malay raja who, desiring British recognition of a coveted position, offered the invitation as a means to that end. He obtained the end he sought, and he was properly held responsible for what happened to the guest intrusted to his care.

In all the states there were three classes of natives to be dealt with-first, Malay chiefs, the hitherto rulers of the country; second, the Malay people; third, the Chinese. The lines on which we have treated all classes are the same; we have endeavored to administer the same justice, to show the same impartiality to all. Indeed, we have revolutionized the social life of the people, and if I can convey to you the vaguest idea of the actual conditions of Malay society when first a solitary British officer took up his residence in each of these States, you will be able to appreciate the value of what has been done.

First, remember that I am speaking of the East, and of a corner of it so remote that the rest of the East was hardly aware of its existence. As to what went on therein no outsider knew or cared. In each State the ruler, whether he were sultan, raja, or chief of lower rank, was supreme and absolute. His word was law, and oppression and cruelty were the result. Under the ruler were a number of chiefs, usually hereditary, who took their ene from their master, and often out-Heroded Herod in the gratification of their vengeance or the pursuit of their peculiar amusements. The people counted for nothing, except as the means of supplying their chiefs with the material for indulging their vicious tendencies. They occupied land, but they did not own it; they worked by command, and without payment; they were liable to be deprived of anything they possessed that was worth the taking, or to be taxed to meet the necessities of the ruler or the local chieftain; their wives and daughters were often requisitioned by members of the ruling class, and when they ceased to any longer attract their abductors, these women, often accompanied by other members of their families, went to swell the ranks of the wretched "debt slaves," a position from which they probably never escaped, but while they filled it were required to perform all menial duues, and were passed from hand to hand in exchange for the amount of the so-called debt, exactly like any other marketable commodity. The murder of a “raiyat”' was a matter of easy settlement, if it ever caused inquiry, and for the man who felt himself oppressed beyond endurance there was left that supreme cry of the hopeless injured, which seems with the Malay to take the place of suicide-I mean the blind desire to kill and be killed, which is known as “ měng-amok." That was how the Malays were treated in their own country, and you will readily understand that the Chinaman was regarded as fair game, even by the Malay “raiyat," who, if he met a Chinaman on a lonely road (and nothing but jungle tracks existed), would stab him for a few dollars, and rest assured that no one would ever trouble to ask how it happened.

I have not exhausted the catalogue of horrors. I have only generally indicated some of them; they still exist upon our borders in the States of Trengganu and Kelantan, where as yet Halay methods of government prevail; but I have told you enough, and it is surely something to be able to say that in every State where there is a British resident slavery of all kinds has been absolutely abolished; forced

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

labor is only a memory; courts of law, presided over by trustworthy magistrates, mete out what we understand as justice to all classes and nationalities without respect of persons, and the lives and property of people in the protected Malay States are now as safe as in any part of Her Majesty's dominions.

It is a detail that the first residents had no residences. Mr. Birch never had one in Pêrak; he lived in a boat, and it was years before anything like a comfortable house was built in any of the States to which British residents were accredited. The climate is trying, and I mention this fact because a good house means all the difference between comparative comfort and certain misery. Once arrived at his post, the resident had to evolve the rest out of his inner consciousness. No one knew what he was to do; there was no precedent for anything, no scheme and nothing to guide residents in those early days beyond a general instruction that they went to the Peninsula, not as rulers, but as advisers; that they were not to interfere in the minor details of governinent more than was absolutely necessary, and that if they ignored these instructions, and trouble sprang out of their neglect of them, they wonld assuredly be held responsible. At the same time there was the Perak treaty, by which the British resident was to collect and expend all the revenues of the State, and his advice was to be asked and acted upon. The caution to refrain from control or interference in details was, moreover, rendered absolutely meaningless by the orders constantly issued in Singapore which concerned every detail of administration. I must not, however, omit to mention that in enjoining upon residents the purely advisory nature of their duties, the secretary of state said he recognized the very delicate nature of their position. You will not forget that at first the resident carried about in his own person the only means he possessed of enforcing his advice.

From the first the resident found that the Malay lower classes were on his side, though they were not always able to openly show it; while the Chinese and all other foreigners were of course delighted with the advent of one whom they looked upon as a protector. The great difficulty was to establish really friendly relations with the ruler, and to either conciliate or overawe the chiefs, many of whom were powerful enough to at least covertly disregard the orders of the ruler. The task was a sufficiently difficult one, as those who were then residents know; but it was accomplished by treating generously the chiefs who had undoubted claims to a share in the revenues; by constantly seeking the society of the malcontents and talking to them in their own language, patiently explaining the objects of every proposed innovation; by putting the men of most consideration on State councils; and, in a few cases, by assuming a determined attitude, and, where necessary, outswaggering the greatest swaggerer of them all.

With the ruler, when once freed from the influence of his old advisers, the most successful course was to seek his friendship, to join with him in all his amusements, to go on expeditions with him, to make his acquaintance, and, if possible, earn the confidence of the members of his family, and to persuade him that the interests of his country were your chief care, and that no step of any importance would be taken without first consulting him.

A thorough experience of Malays will not qualify an official to deal with Chinese-a separate education is necessary for that, but it is a le-son more easy to learn. It is almost hopeless to expect to make friends with a Chinaman, and it is, for a Government officer, an object that is not very desirable to attain. The Chinese, at least that class of them met with in Malay, do not understand being treated as equals; they only realize two positions-the giving and the receiving of orders; they are the easiest people to govern in the East for a man of determination, but they must know their master as he must know them. The Chinese admire and respect determination of character in their rulers, and hold that it is a characteristic as necessary as the sense of justice. The man who possesses the judicial mind, but is too weak to enforce his own judgment, will never be successful in dealing with the Chinese.

It is by the employment of such means as I have described that we have obtained our influence in the Malay States, and as British methods in the treatment of native races have been unfavorably compared with those employed by other nationalities or self-governing colonies, I think both the means used and the results obtained by British oflicers in the Malay Peninsula (and again I must ask you not to forget the difficulties of this case) will favorably compare with, let us say, American methods toward the Red Indians, Australian policy toward the aborigines, the methods of Germany in Africa, or of Spain in South America and Cuba-even with the policy adopted by our experienced neighbors, the Dutch, in Netherlands India. You will not want me to describe to you how our uncontrolled countrymen or these foreign nations have dealt with the question of their subject races; but in America and Australia the original inhabitants are being improved out of existence, while charges, many of which we need not believe, though some could probably be established, are brought against the treatment of their native subjects by German, Spanish, and Dutch oflicials. They are no doubt quite able to defend themselves and prove to their own satisfaction that their methods are the best; but when comparisons are sought it may at least be stated generally that English governments, in assuming to advise or control native races, aim at securing on the one hand freedom of religion and of trade for all nationalities, and on the other, the expenditure in the country of the whole of the revenues raised there. It is unlikely that anyone has suggested that France has obtained any contribution from her colonies. On the contrary, they have, at least in modern times, been a heavy expense to the mother country, but both Spain and Holland have taxed their colonies for contributions to the parent exchequers.

There are of course many other sources of interesting comparison between British methods of governing native races and those employed by our neighbors, or even by our own countrymen when no longer subject to English control; and specially there is the practice of compelling natives to cultivate certain products and to sell the whole of the crop to the government at fixed rates. The question is, however, too wide for more than the briefest reference here, and I am confident that the lines on which we have not only "advised,” but controlled the later destinies of the Malay will bear comparison with the methods employed by any of our neighbors.


When British officers first entered the Malay States as advisers they found that a very small revenue was raised in each by the taxation of every single article that entered or left the country: As a rule the tax was proportionately higher on the necessaries of life than on luxuries. In a few years our influence aholished the duty on every article of import except opium and spirits, while the export duty on tin, the principal product, was much reduced, and on many of the less important esports it was altogether removed. This policy, with the appointment of British officials to all important Government posts, the organization of police forces, and above all the putting of everyone who applied for land in possession of what was meant to be an indereasable title, gave so much confidence that immigrants from the unprotected Malay States, from the Dutch possessions, from China, and from India poured into the peninsula, and the revenues increased by such marvelous strides that I will venture to give you a few figures to illustrate the actual results of our policy in Malay.

The first year of which it is possible to give any statistics is 1875, and the revenues of the various States then and at intervals of five years since are as follows:








Sungei Ujong
Negri Sembilan

226, 233
115, 651
67, 405

582, 436
215, 614
83, 800


566, 111
120, 214

2,504, 116
1, 888, 928

277, 910
107, 033
62, 077

Dollars. 3,512, 114 3,334, 468

397, 1:30 137, 876 100, 220


409, 289

881, 910

2, 208, 710


7,511, 808

I give the expenditure during the same period, because it shows that all the revenues were spent in the States; and when, as was the case everywhere at first, and is still true in Pahang, the revenues were not sufficient to meet the expenditure, the difference was covered by loans from the colony or the wealthier States:


[blocks in formation]

[ Mr. Swettenham's description of the methods by which revenue is raised in the Malayan Peninsula will be found under the general discussion i methods of raising revenues in colonies, on another page of this volume.]


Under British advice and control a regiment of highly trained and disciplined Indian troops has been raised, and these men have on several occasions been called out on active service, and have undoubtedly saved the employment of British troops. We have organized police forces, constructed admirable model prisons, hospitals in every center of population, and public buildings to meet all requirements. We have built light-houses and waterworks, but our principal and I think our best eiiorts have been directed toward the construction of roads and railways and the erection of telegraphs. British advice has prevailed for twenty years in the peninsula; but for a long time we had no funds for the construction of costly works, and yet we can point to nearly 200 miles of railways, 2,000 miles of roads, and over 1,000 miles of telegraph lines, built in a country that not only contained none of these things, but which was covered almost entirely by thick jungle. It is worthy of mention that our railways have been called “works of art,” and yet they give higher returns on the capital expended than, I believe, any railways in the world, and our roads are admittedly excellent. We have organized a civil service to whom the main credit belongs for working out the existing results of British influence. The members of this service have shown a zeal and devotion beyond all praise, and I almost regret to say that we have carried on the administration with such economy that it has cost one-third or one-fourth the amount paid in British India for similar services under perhaps less trying conditions. Finally, the trade of the protected States is worth nearly $60,000,000 annually, and the figures represent real consumption and production. We have not altogether neglected scientific matters, and in Perak, where there is an admirable museum, the government has spent a quarter of a million dollars on making a trigonometrical survey of the State. Of the other institutions that most nearly concern the public your chairman can, I think, bear out the statement that the hospitals are very ably managed institutions, under the personal supervision of English surgeons; that the prisons are built and conducted on the most approved principles; and though we have not done all for education that was possible, still we have done a good deal, and the question of education in the East is one that I feel possesses great difliculties. Nothing but good can, I think, come of teaching in the native languages what we call the three R’s; and of greater value still are the habits of orderliness and punctuality, and the duties inculcated by teachers in the hope of making good citizens of their pupils. We have schools for girls as well as boys, and that, I think, is cause for congratulation in a Mohammedan country, where it will be understood that the only religious instruction is that of the Koran, at special hours, and usually by a special Koran teacher. I do not think that we should aim at giving the Malays the sort of higher education that is offered by the government of India to its native subjects, but I would prefer to see the establishment of classes where useful trades would be taught. It is unfortunate that when an Eastern has been taught to read and write English very indifferently he seems to think that from that moment the government is responsible for his future employment, and in consequence the market for this kind of labor is overstocked, while many honorable and profitable trades find difficulty in obtaining workmen, because of the prejudice against anything like manual labor.


A native of the East is curiously prone to imitate the Western, but his imitation is nearly always only partial-hardly ever goes to the root of things, and fails by the omission of some important particular. He clothes himself in items of the European dress, he learns scraps of the language, essays British sports, without sufficient energy or determination to thoroughly succeed, and he will even, with what seems praiseworthy enterprise, take up the planting of some new product in imitation of a European neighbor, often, I regret to say, wasting thereby a capital that would have been better employed in some other form of planting or business which he really understood. Just as I think the Eastern is never so well or becomingly dressed as in his national costume, so I think it should be our object to maintain or revive his interest in the best of his traditions, rather than encourage him to assume habits of life that are not really suited to his character, constitution, climate, or the circumstances in which he lives; which are, in fact, unnatural to him, and will lead him to trouble and disappointment, if not to absolute disaster.


The greatest achievement of British influence in Malay is the enormous improvement in the condition of the Malays themselves. They are freer, healthier, wealthier, more independent, more enlightened, happier by far than when we went to them. I think this is a fact on which every officer in the service of the various Malay governments may be sincerely congratulated, and many of those officers are themselves Malays and under our guidance have contributed to this result. I fear it can not be expected that the British Government, still less the British people, should take much interest in such a distant and unknown corner of the world as the Malay Peninsula; but you who have been good enough to come here to-night will be glad to hear this contident statement of mine. I am trying to avoid the mention of individual names-it is so difficult to prevent injustice by omission—but I can not forbear to say that the present happy condition of the Malays in that State where they probably outnumber all the rest of their countrymen under our influence is due mainly to one whose name will never be forgotten in Perak, and that is my friend, Sir Ilugh Low.

I may tell you two facts that have a special interest as showing what Malays in high places think of British rule. The present Sultan of Perak visited England in 1884. When he returned a feast was given to welcome him back, and the banquet was attended by all the principal Malay chiefs in the country: I was present, acting for the resident, absent on leave, and it was rather surprising to hear Raja Dris (for he was not then the Sultan), in a fluent and admirably expressed after-dinner speech, in his own language, state that for ten years they had watched British methods with misgiving and apprehension, but now, on behalf of the regent, of himself, and of the Pérák chiefs, he wished to say that there was no longer any hesitation in their minds, for they recognized the value of what had been done for them, and they would not accept a return to Malay rule.

The other incident occurred in Pahang a few weeks ago. You know we had trouble in Pahang, and at one period of it the governor of the Straits Settlements thought it well that the Sultan of Pahang should visit Singapore. Our connection with Pahang is comparatively recent, and it appears that the Sultan felt then such little confidence in our good faith that he vowed that if he ever returned to Pahang


he would give his weight in silver to the poor. The other night his highness fulfilled the promise, and after a great feast he duly took his seat on one scale, while silver dollars to the number of 2,362 were piled on the other, and the balance being thus exactly adjusted the money was at once handed over for distribution to the poor.


I have tried to give you some idea of the sort of place Malay was in 1874; I have mentioned some of the work done under British influence since, and I have imperfectly sketched the present position, both as regards the country and the people. I am no prophet, but I see no reason why the prospects of the future should not be measured by the experience of the past. The keynote of that success is liberality, especially in the treatment of Malays, the owners of the land; in encouragement to all those willing to risk their capital and health in a new country, and in the construction of useful public works, which so far have always returned, directly or indirectly, the money spent on them.


Our main aim now should be the encouragement of planting, because I take it that the permanent occupation and cultivation of the soil is a more worthy object than the desolation of the face of the country by surface mining. Planting in Malay has had much to contend against; but the Englishman who goes to the East to plant is usually the “fine fleur" of his kind, and the men who have made Ceylon what it is, who recovered there from the most crushing blow and from the ashes of Arabian coffee have raised a yet more successful product, are not to be denied, and they have proved to demonstration the value of the Malay Peninsula for the growth of Liberian coffee-proved not only that it will grow, but that it will pay, and will last. There may be a fortune in other tropical products, but I will not go into the attractive hut doubtful region of possibilities. The facts are that in the Malay States there are millions of acres of unexplored and uninhabited jungle, magnificently timbered and watered, and capable of producing any species of tropical agriculture that fourishes under the equator. This land has facilities of access that, if not unrivaled, are certainly great, and improving every year. The labor question was a difficulty, but a high authority on planting once said to the members of this institute." As to labor supply, experienced planters of the right sort, if supported by a liberal government, may be trusted to overcome any difficulty in this direction.I will undertake to say that the planters in the Malay Peninsula are of the right sort, and that if they get that liberal support which I believe it is to the interest of the Government to give them, Vr. John Ferguson, who knew the temper of the men he was speaking of, will be found to have gauged them accurately. At present, you understand that we rely almost for existence upon the export of tin. It may last for ages, but it is certain that we have already seen some fields of the mineral worked out. It goes, and as there is nothing behind it we must find something to replace it. We exact a high duty, and that money we invest in railways that give us a good return and open communications that make our waste lands available for agriculture. That seems a good enough reason why we should encourage the "bona fide” planter, but in my opinion it is a far better one that we should try to secure a settled population to till the soil and convert some of our millions of acres of jungle into cultivated fields that will supply their owners with subsistence. Our first duty, I take it, is to attract immigrants, and the best way to keep them is to settle them on the land. When once they are there, not only will they personally contribute to the revenue by paying land rent and other direct and indirect taxes, but the Government can always impose a moderate duty on any produce exported.

The gold-mining industry in Pahang and Pêrak is now of such importance that, without being oversanguine, one may regard it as giving promise of a good, perhaps of a great, future. Good indications have also been found in the Negri Sembilan, and, considering the nature of the country and the immense difliculties of prospecting, it would be reasonable to suppose that the little we know of gold, in what I hardly need remind you is the golden Chersonese of the ancients, is surely less than remains to be discovered. The Chinese must ever receive the credit for taking full advantage of the facilities we offered them to make tin mining the most important industry in the protected States, but it is a satisfaction to think that what has been done for gold is the work of our own countrymen, for I imagine that the Australians who, with men of this country, have done such excellent service in Pahang and Pêrak will not object to my counting them as Englishmen.



From what I have already said you may have gathered the principles on which we based our treatment of the Malave. If so, I wish to emphasize those principles, and to state in detail the methods which secured us the confidence of the Malays-methods which will serve equally well with any other native race that comes under British influence.

The first requirement is to learn the language of the people to be ruled. I mean to learn to speak it and write it well. And the first use to make of this knowledge is to learn as much as possible about the people, their customs, traditions, character, and idiosyncrasies. An officer who has his heart in his work will certainly gain the sympathies of those over whom he spends his trouble. In the Malay States we have always insisted upon officers passing an examination in Malay, and the standard is a high one.

The main care of those responsible for the administration should be to keep faith in any matters of agreement, and to do everything possible to secure justice for every class and every nationality, without fear or favor. To punish crime and redress wrong is probably the greatest novelty you can offer to an Eastern, and though he has been accustomed to all forms of bribery he very soon understands and appreciates the change of régime, when to offer a bribe is not only an insult, but will almost certainly get the would-be briber into serious trouble.

I take it the leading motive of government in an English dependeney is to spend for its advantage all the revenues raised in it, never seeking to make money out of a distant possession, or exact any contribution toward Imperial funds. The Malay States are not, of course, British dependencies, and the rule I speak of has been very carefully observed with them. This policy is one which appeals specially to intelligent natives of the East, and as long as these principles are maintained the spread of English rule can only be for good, and no native race, Eastern or otherwise, will regret the advent of English advice, as in Malaya, or English control, as in India.

That is as to what we should do. It is almost as important to bear in mind what we should not do. We should not interfere overmuch with native customs and prejudices, and we should be specially careful to avoid any attempt to force English views, even when English opinion is practically unanimous on a subject, upon a people living under utterly different conditions, and who, if their voice is hard to hear, may still bitterly resent what they think an intolerable interference.


For twenty years British residents filled that curious position in the Malay States which I have described to you; but the difficulties became daily greater as the States increased in importance, and I am glad to say that last July, with the sanction of the secretary of state for the colonies, a treaty was concluded between the governor of the Straits Settlements (Sir Charles Mitchell), acting for and on behali of Her Majesty's Government, and the rulers of all the States under our protection, by which all previous arrangements concerning the appointment of residents were confirmed, and the following new provisions were actually agreed to:

(a) The federation for administrative purposes of the protected Malay States, with an undertaking to mutually assist each other with men or money.

(6) The appointment of a resident-general as the agent and representative of the British Government under the governor of the Straits Settlements.

(c) The raising of a force of Indian soldiers for service in any part of the peninsula, or, if required, in the colony. This new departure needs no comment; it has the secretary of state's approval. As no step has yet been taken to get the scheme

« AnteriorContinuar »