Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

MEMOIR OF THE Late SiR THOS. STAMFORD RAFFLES, Knt. F.R. and A.S.

LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR OF BENCOOLEN, &c.

A JUST and faithful history of the requires, becomes a blessing and colonial governments of Europe, an ornament to his country, and would, it is to be feared, present the benefactor of a whole comthe records of a system of admi- munity. Such a man was Sir nistration, in which the social and Thomas Stamford Raffles. i moral improvement of the abori-- Anxious, therefore, to .commuginal inbabitants was forgotten, and nicate to our readers a view of his the acquirement of wealth, the enlightened administration of Brimaintenance of authority, and tish authority in a region peculiarly the gratification of lust, were interesting to the friends of missions alone regarded. If, by the pre- and of civilization, we have obcepts of Christianity, individuals tained the permission of the reare accountable to God for the em- spected writer of an able memoir ployment of the property and influ- of Sir Stamford, which appeared ence confided to their use, surely a few months since in a Magazine the same principles will be applied, not extensively, circulated in our in the broadest sense, to those king- connexions, to extract as much of doms and governments which, ruling that article as will accord with our. over wide-spreading regions of con- design; and having availed our quered or dependent nations, never selves of other facts which he has ask, in all their councils, how they not employed, we present the folmay deliver from their intellectual lowing memoir to the public, beand moral degradation, the millions lieving they will associate the name of their fellow men who inhabit of Raffles with the distinguished them, but are content, age after philanthropists of our times. " age, to draw from them the wealth . Thomas Stamford Raffles was and luxuries they may afford, and born on board the ship Ann, at to bestow in return, as the only re- sea, off the harbour of Port Morant, compense, the curse of increased de- in the Island of Jamaica, on the pravity and aggravated wretched-6th of July, 1781. His father, ness which their guilty intercourse Benjamin Raffles, was one of the and oppressive despotism are sure oldest captains in the West India to entail.

trade from the Port of London. That Englishman then, who is Stamford received his education, called to preside over some of the principally under Dr. Anderson, colonial subjects of his sovereign, who presided over a respectable and enters upon his responsible duties Academy at Hammersmith. At under the influence of the just prin- an early age he was admitted on ciples of the British constitution, the establishment of the East India and in the exercise of that expan-, House, where his talents attracted sive benevolence which Christianity the favourable notice of the Court of N.S. No. 24.

4 K

Directors. He continued here till for him the appointment of Agent the year 1805, when Pulo Penang, of the Governor General with the an island in the Strait of Malacca, Malay States. having been ceded to the Company, In the same year the annexation was formed into a Government, of Holland to France having virwith a civil and military establish- tually placed at the disposal of the ment, and designated Prince of latter power the valuable and exWales Island. As a mark of the tensive possessions of the Dutch in Court's favour towards Mr. Raffles, the Eastern seas, it was deemed it conferred upon him the ap- expedient that the large island of pointment of Assistant Secretary Java should, without delay, be to this Government; and he accor- brought under the dominion of dingly proceeded with Governor Great Britain. For this purpose Dundas and the rest of the civil Lord Minto, the Governor General establishment to the place of their of India, caused an armament to destination.

be fitted out in the ports of India, On his arrival in India, Mr. and proceeded with the expedition Raffles applied himself to the study in person. Mr. Raffles, who had of the Malay language, which is been consulted in its very earliest the vernacular dialect of almost all stage, and who had gone to Calthe Eastern islands. This study he cutta for the purpose of affording prosecuted with remarkable success, to the Governor General all posand thereby recommended himself sible assistance and information to the favourable opinion and dis- respecting it, accompanied bis tinguished regard of the Governor Lordship as a member of his faand Council, who in March 1807, mily. appointed him their Secretary ; The British fleet, consisting of uniting with the duties of this office vessels of all descriptions, both those of Registrar to their Recor- European and Native, of ninety der's Court.

sail, arrived in the Strait of MaHis taste and intellectual habits lacca, in the month of June 1811, led him to connect with his official and, early in August following, engagements scientific and literary appeared before the city of Batapursuits, and the intense application via, the principal settlement of the of his mind to these, in a debili- Dutch on Java, which speedily tating atmosphere, soon induced surrendered to the British troops. severe indisposition, such as com- The conquest of Batavia, and ulpelled him, early in the year 1808, timately of Java, an island con

to retire to Malacca. When his taining a population of six millions · health was a little re-established, of souls, and divided into thirty rehe applied himself to the inves- sidencies, under powerful chiefs, tigation of the history, resources, appears to have been effected with and localities of that place, com- unparalleled ease and expedition, municating the result of his en- by means of the skilful arrangequiries to the Government of Prince ments of the British Government, of Wales Island; and it is gene- seconded by the gallantry of his rally allowed, that by a timely re- Majesty's and the Company's presentation of some circumstances, troops. So sensible was Lord till then unknown or not duly con- Minto of the valuable assistance sidered, he prevented the aliena- which his Lordship had received tion of Malacca from the British from Mr. Raffles, both in the precrown. .

liminary arrangements of this exIn 1810 the fame of this gen- pedition, and in the ultimate exetleman's talents and character had cution of the enterprize, that he reached Calcutta, where it obtained nominated that gentleman to the

high and important station of Lieu- slave trade to be a felony, was tenant Governor of Java, “ as an made a colonial law.. acknowledgment of those services, A general registry of slaves was and in consideration of his peculiar also introduced, and other meafitness for that office.”

sures adopted, with the concurrence Mr, Raffles took charge of this of the principal inhabitants, which Government on the 11th Sept. contemplated the final extinction

1811, and held it. till the 15th of slavery on the island : and when March 1816.

called upon to resign the governAs the limits of the present me- ment, foreseeing that this object moir will not admit of a minute would be for a time defeated, by examination or detail of all the the restoration of the colony to the measures of his administration on King of the Netherlands, and in this island, it must suffice to notice the hope of interesting his sucsome of its more prominent features, cessors in its final accomplishment, by which it will be apparent that he established a voluntary society few men have evinced greater of persons friendly to the measure, energy of character, or have dis-' which he designated the “ Java played a larger share of benevo- Benevolent Society.” lence in the performance of the With a view to the revenue and duties of so elevated a station, or commercial administration of Java, have better deserved that popularity he first explored, with almost unwhich was the reward of his public equalled diligence and sagacity, life.

the natural resources of the island, Having formed some consider and then encouraged the greatest able acquaintance with the people freedom of commercial intercourse who were entrusted to his care, be between that colony and all foreign commenced a revision of the judi- states. He formed three dependant cial system of the colony. This residencies; one - on each of the undertaking afforded much scope islands of Borneo and Banca, and for the exercise of his active and one in Japan. This was done with enlightened genius, and was pursued a vicw to promote a traffic in the with considerable success. So early valuable minerals which are the as the year 1814, he had matured, staple articles of those settlements; and he then made public, a clear the great importance of which he and simple code of Laws or Regu first ascertained by employing able lations for the general adminis- mineralogists to examine and report tration of justice among the Java- upon them, and then encouraged nese, whereby he effected several the resort of Chinese labourers to essential reforms, as well in the work the mines. European courts of justice, as in The Literary and Scientific Sothe magistracy established at Ba- ciety of Java, also owes its exist. tavia, Samarang, and Sourabaya. ence to Mr. Raffles, who presided He fully succeeded in revising and over it from its institution till he modifying the practice of the for- quitted the colony. . mer courts on the mild and just It ought not to occasion' much principles of the British consti- surprise, that in some of his meatution; and finally introduced into sures this distinguished individual the colony that palladium of En- was opposed during their progress glish liberty, the trial by jury. by his immediate contemporaries,

Among the several laws and and that a few of them should have regulations which were established been considered as of doubtful pa during the government of Mr. licy by his superiors. Those who Raffles in Java, the act of the will be at the pains to reflect upon British Parliament, declaring the the deranged state of the affairs of

--

-

the colony, when he was appointed condition was so little advanced as to the government of it, its geogra- that of the inhabitants of the phical expanse, and the extent of Eastern Islands, was an object the powers and the large discretion worthy of the contemplation of the with which it was found necessary most enlightened statesman. to invest him, as well as the de. During his residence in Java, praved character of the native Mr. R. lost his first wife, and his governments in his vicinity, will health having materially suffered rather feel surprized that his mea- from domestic affliction and public sures should have been in general duties, he was induced to visit so unexceptionable and successful. England, and having therefore In addition to the ordinary ob- resigned, in March 1816, the gostacles in the way of a prosperous vernment to Mr. Findall, he emcolonial administration, his youth barked with Ráden Ráná Dipára, exposed him to an unusual share of a Javanese prince, and his suite, jealous competition, and he had on board a ship freighted with a the mortification to find some of splendid and extensive collection those to whom he looked for ap- of the natural productions and probation and support, but too ac- works of art, found in the Eastern cessible to hostile influence. In Archipelago. these trying circumstances he ap- Touching at St. Helena, he pears, during the remainder of the visted Longwood, and was much life of Lord Minto, to have reposed, interested with the amiable manwith unshaken confidence, on the ners of Madame Bertrand. He friendship and patronage of that was affected by a survey of the nobleman, who, on quitting Bengal miserable hovel in which she then in October 1813, gave him the resided, and still more, as looking strongest assurances of undiminished round the wretched apartment, confidence, a confidence, his Lord- she shrugged up her shoulders, ship declared, which had been and said, “ Ah! Monsieur, voici greatly enhanced by the eminent les Thuileries !On his arrival success of his administration, and in England, he gave his earliest by the display which it had af- attention to the arrangement of the forded of such qualifications as materials, which he had collected could alone command success.. with much labour and scientific • In his official communications, zeal, for the history of Java, · Mr. Raffles appears to have been which he soon published in two

frank and undisguised. While he volumes quarto, and which is a held the situation of Lieutenant fair and imperishable monument of Governor of Java, he avowed that his literary fame.. his object in all his measures was," He was gratified by seeing that in connection with commercial ad- his services were generally apprevantage to his country, to effect a ciated by all classes of Society, and change in the habits of life, and to when he presented to his present improve the moral character and Majesty a copy of his History, that * condition of the piratical inhabi- noble patron of literature and art tants of the Eastern Islands. The conferred on him the honour of candid avowal of these views, ob- knighthood. tained for him the approval and During the summer of 1817, he commendation even of those who found leisure to visit Paris, Switquestioned the policy of his pro- zerland, Germany, and the Netherceedings. It was acknowleged lands, in company with a 'party, that to extend the blessings of civi- of which his affectionate cousin, lization and regular government to the Rev, Dr. Raffles, was a mem* & people whose moral and political ber, who has given to the public

the details of their agreeable tour appointment which are the conin a volume of letters of no ordi- comitants of this system. It is nary interest.

beyond all question that for many Amongst other marks of atten- vears Bencoolen afforded to its tion which Sir Stamford received possessors no commercial adyanwhile on the Continent, was the tage ; on the contrary, by a referaudience he had with the King of ence to the annual Parliamentary the Netherlands, with whom after statements of the East India wards he was honoured to dine. Company's affairs, it will appear

The appointment of Sir T. S. that for the forty years last past, Raffles to the Residency of Fort it entailed upon them an annual Marlbro' or Bencoolen, the seat loss, amounting frequently to more of the English Government on the than one hundred thousand pounds. Island of Sumatra, was confirmed Yet it must be acknowledged in October, 1817, and he there that the spirit of enterprise was not fore returned to India in the fol- backward to suggest plans, nor lowing month, with the designa- that of speculation to essay means, tion of Lieutenant-Governor of by which it was presumed the Fort Marlboro', a title conferred colony might eventually be renon bim by the Court of Directors dered productive to its owners ; as a special mark of their favour. but as the execution of all these

On the 22d March, 1818, he plans rested. on compulsory unrearrived at Bencoolen, and took munerated labour, and property in charge of his Government.. the persons of men, the uniform re

It is well known that this Re- sult was disappointment, failure, sidency was one of the East India and loss of capital. Company's earliest possessions, and When Sir Thomas Stamford having been formed on the bad Raffles first took charge of this principles which prevailed at the government, he found the settle

time when the Company first took ment in the utmost poverty and · possession of it, was for more than wretchedness ; for religious wor

a century cursed with all the abo-, ship, or for the administration of minations which attend the system justice, scarcely any provision exof colonial slavery. Its population isted, and education almost to-. during that period consisted of a tally disregarded : on the other few demoralized Europeans, a small hand, gaming and cock-fighting, number of half-domesticated Ma- not only permitted, but publicly lays, and a considerable body of na- patronised by the Government. tive African slaves, called Caffres, There was, in fact, neither security whose wasting numbers were from for person or property to be found. time to time recruited by the im- Murders were daily committed, portation of fresh victims, ob- and robberies perpetrated, which tained at an enormous expense. were never traced, nor indeed atOf the latter description of per- tempted to be traced; and proflisons the Company possessed a con- gacy and immorality obtruded siderable establishment, and all themselves every where. In addithe Europeans resident in the set- tion to these disgusting features, tlement were of course accustomed the oppression and debauchery to the anomalous luxury of slave- which naturally spring from the service and property in human system of slavery, and are pecuflesh.

liar to it, filled up the frightful · The whole history of this settle- picture of misrule, which this new "ment, if correctly written, would connection presented to its Lieu

give an instructive view of the tenant-Governor on his arrival. "Misery, folly, and commercial dis- Not only were his prospects cheer

« AnteriorContinuar »