Asia 1820-1844 – part 4


Saturday 4th March 1820

Batavia Courant, 20th November – the Dutch military expedition to Sumatra to recover Palembang and the islands of Banca and Billiton has experienced reverses.

First the expedition was unable to cross the bar of the Palembang River except on spring tides and hence had to wait for the new moon.

When they crossed the bar, they found the Sultan had sunk posts into the river bed passed which their ships could not proceed. On the banks at that point were substantial raised batteries that opened fire on the ships as soon as they stopped moving.

The Dutch[211] returned fire for 4 hours but were eventually compelled to fall back. The fleet has taken-up a blockade of the river whilst the troops have been sent back to Batavia for refreshment. Eventually the whole expedition returned to Batavia. The Dutch are disappointed but must collect more revenue before repeating the exercise.

In this respect the new high-tax regime has deterred the planters from bringing goods to town. It is supposed that agricultural production is leaking away to non-Dutch ports.

Some American ships recently visited Batavia with silver to buy commodities but left without a lading.

It is the Muslims who are particularly aggrieved by the Dutch.

Saturday 11th March 1820

Bombay, 10th March – a new periodical called Asiatic Journal & Monthly Register is to be published in London. It will contain all the interesting news of India. Subscribers pay 18 Rupees per annum to E C Anderson, the proprietor, for 12 issues. We already have subscriptions from senior civil and military officers.

Meanwhile the Calcutta Journal (whose Editor is in conflict with the Governor-General over censorship) has divided its paper into two sections dealing respectively with Asian and International news. It is to reduce postage payable by English subscribers who already know the International news. 5 Rupees per month for the Asian section.

Saturday 11th March 1820

Bombay – The brig Countess of Loudan was sold at auction last week for 14,000 Rupees.

Saturday 18th March 1820

Saif al Alum, whom we made King of Aceh, is the son of Syed Hussein of Penang. He has arrived at Calcutta for discussions with the Governor-General. He brings a retinue of 120 Malays.

Saturday 1st April 1820

Letter from the Directors, 1st September 1819 – The proprietor of the Correspondent for India has requested the same indulgence we allowed the proprietor of the Spirit of the Times in our letter of 4th February 1818 and we also permit that newspaper to pass through the Company’s territories free of postage for 12 months.

Saturday 1st April 1820

Notice, 18th March – No elephants or camels are in future permitted into the Island of Bombay.

Saturday 1st April 1820

Madras Gazette, 18th March – The local firm of J de Fries & Co has failed.

Saturday 8th April 1820

Bombay, 8th April – The new ship Sarah (Thacker) will depart for London on 7th May; stopping at Mauritius for disembarking passengers only. Comfortable accommodation and a doctor on the crew. Apply to Framjee Cowasjee.

Saturday 8th April 1820

Penang Gazette, 23rd February – the Dutch are recovering their former colony on the island of Rhio and it has caused riots.

As a result of the overwhelming fire power of the Dutch, the Bugis people (and other neighbouring peoples) have voted with their feet and some 500 of them have gone to Singapore, leaving a hundred-odd behind. They first obtained a temporary advantage over the Dutch, during which they plundered the Customs House. Rajah Kryan, the young ruler of the Bugis at Rhio, was killed.

The Dutch Governor asked Malacca for help and a small brig eventually arrived and shelled the Bugis quarter of the island killing about 90 people. Their remaining boats were destroyed. We should not be smug about this but recognise that we are all resented by the traders we have displaced.[212]

Saturday 15th April 1820

Bombay, 3rd April – there are many stray dogs in Bombay. The Company is offering a reward of ½ Rupee for every carcase delivered to the police station.

Saturday 15th April 1820

Bombay Castle, 16th February – Elphinstone, the new Governor, has passed in Council a new Regulation consequent on the last uprising of the natives in central and northern India (which is still sporadically continuing).

It empowers the Governor-in-Council to declare Martial Law during any war or civil unrest and thereafter to summarily execute (by hanging after Court Martial) anyone possessing arms.

It suspends the criminal jurisdiction of the courts during its validity. The possessions of any executed people will be confiscated to the Company.

Saturday 22nd April 1820

Bombay, 8th April – The ship Ann (Thatcher) of 550 tons will sail for London soon. Space available for 200 tons of cargo. Passengers welcome (a doctor is on the crew). Apply to the Captain or Hormanjee Bomanjee’s shop.

Saturday 22nd April 1820

The monthly pay of men in the artillery regiments has been adjusted w.e.f. 1st January 1820:

  • Subadars get 24 – 42 Rupees pay and 7 Rupees batta;
  • Jemadars 17 and 3 Rupees;
  • Havildars 10 and 2 Rupees;
  • Naiques 8 and 2 and
  • Lascars 7 and 2.

Saturday 22nd April 1820

The Portuguese port of Diu, 7th April – a large lion and lioness were killed near here a few days ago. Grain has become scarce and the numbers of beggars are increasing.

Saturday 22nd April 1820

Calcutta, 29th March – The Editor of the Calcutta Journal has announced his retirement and the closure of his paper. He has been in conflict with the authorities and earned the enmity of our closed society.

Officers at out-stations are often embarrassed. They initially relish the Journal news reports only to learn later that the Editor is disapproved by the Governor-General.

One has to take care not to disclose one’s opinions in British India.

Saturday 20th May 1820

The Company’s four Indiamen on the London /Bombay /China route will sail shortly from the Downs without any outbound cargo. The other four Indiamen for China (two via Madras, one via Penang and one direct) will leave England in early June.

Saturday 20th May 1820

Died at Belfast in November 1819, the relict of Eldred Curwen Pottinger. Seven of her thirteen children are still living.

Saturday 20th May 1820

Calcutta Journal – Some months ago in Amarowty, two sepoys of Davis’ Reformed Horse paid a Shroff to send 300 Rupees to their families in Hindustan. The Shroff agreed to deliver the money, obtain a signed receipt and provide it to the sepoys within three months. After 4½ months the sepoys demanded the receipt or their money back.

The Shroff referred the matter to Dhunraj, the great banker in Amarowty, and he required the sepoys to wait a little longer. They declined, one thing led to another, and Dhunraj eventually had them beaten by his lowliest servant.

The sepoys complained to Capt R T Seyer of the 28th Regiment of Native Infantry, to which the Reformed Horse is attached. He is part of the garrison we bestowed on the Nizam for his protection. Seyer ordered Dhunraj tied and beaten through the commercial part of the town by the two sepoys. Dhunraj offered them 10,000 Rupees to forego his punishment but they entered upon their duty enthusiastically. This caused all the other Shroffs and sowkahs to close shop. Business ceased and the Company’s income is threatened.

It appears to be an instance of martial law applied to commerce and illustrates a solution adopted by the Company’s army officers when far from the Courts.

(NB – on 9th May Seyer wrote to the newspaper that the law in Aurungabad is maintained by the Nizam, Nawab Sulabut Khan. The Nizam arranges for punishments, not the Indian army. That is Seyer’s complete public explanation of the news article. The Nizam is at this time already in arrears to the Company and is soon to be replaced. Capt Hugh Robison was later court-martialled on Seyer’s complaint he did not rectify the original report implicating Seyer. Robison is the same rank as Seyer but inferior in service. He was acquitted. Seyer’s friend Capt Tocker also complained Robison and secured his court-martial on similar subject matter. Robison was again acquitted, released from arrest and returned to duty.)

Saturday 20th May 1820

A rare event. Sir George Barlow was a close advisor to the last Governor-General, then acted in that office himself and finally became Governor of Madras.

He has been voted a pension of £1,500 a year by the Directors as, after a lifetime in the Company’s service, he has amassed only a very small fortune.

The pension is to permit him to support the rank in society that the Directors feel due to a senior past employee.[213]

Saturday 3rd June 1820

A correspondent from Southern India reports the Deccan is a wilderness. The villages appear desolate; their inhabitants few and wretched; the native government unpopular and the ryots unprotected.

On crossing the southern boundary of the Company’s domains, the contrast is shocking. Our Indians, though highly taxed, are cheerful and hopeful and agriculture is being extended in all directions.

Saturday 10th June 1820

On 2nd March the Directors appointed Wm Edward Phillips as Governor of Penang.

Saturday 17th June 1820

Director’s letter, 7th January – Numerous wives of soldiers in the Indian army have come to England free of charge by acting as servants to fare-paying passengers. They are unable to return by the same means and have petitioned the Court for assistance to rejoin their husbands. These people have no claim on the Company’s funds. Advise the soldiery in India to make their own arrangements.

Saturday 17th June 1820

Bengal Hurkaru, 18th May – the new builds Triton (187 tons) and Nerbudda (600 tons) were auctioned at the Exchange Rooms yesterday. Capts Templeton and James Nicoll were the successful purchasers at 25,000 and 73,000 Rupees respectively. These poor prices reveal the all-embracing effect of the general stagnation of our trade.

Saturday 17th June 1820

Batavia, 7th March – the Dutch colonial government has been preparing another expedition to Palembang. This one will have mainly European troops and will number 4,000 men. They are being exercised and trained. The Dutch frigate Nassau is being cut-down at Semarang to be used as a floating battery in case the force meets the same defences as last time.

A French officer has gone over to the Sultan of Palembang and is assisting in the defensive preparations. English merchants have sold the Sultan 400 piculs of gunpowder but the Dutch say their invasion must succeed this time or they will die in the attempt. How English merchants got 25 tons of powder passed the Dutch blockade of the river is a mystery.

A party of armed Malays from Palembang have landed on Banca to drive-out the Dutch garrison and reinforce the defence of the tin mines. They have already taken the southern side of the island. The Dutch have to act quickly but the only way the government can raise the necessary funds is to sell local productions and the market has been slow owing to the high tax regime that was instituted on the Dutch return. Tin, copper and spices are in slight demand and they rely on sales of those commodities for recurrent spending. The other thing that sells well in all seasons is opium – it has reached $1,600 a chest but is presently $1,500.

The Batavian government has since found that resistance to its taxes has united the Muslims and Chinese against them. They dare not send off the force to Palembang until domestic tranquillity is restored. The invasion is postponed.

The Sultan of Palembang remains determined to resist. He has sent his women and children into the hinterland. His men all dress in white (the colour of mourning) to display their dedication to win or die in the attempt. He has obtained the support of the Bugis people who deplore European commercial antics and some 20,000 of them are reportedly willing to join the Sultan’s forces. The incidence of piracy around Sumatra has increased and the preferred targets are Dutch ships.

All this is good news for our new colony of Singapore. We are capitalising on the resentment felt towards the Dutch and profiting from it. Trade at Malacca has fallen off – the local coasting trade seems to be avoiding Dutch ports.

Saturday 1st July 1820

Letter from Sholapore – Pig-sticking is a marvellous sport in the Company’s new territories in the Deccan. We found these animals are often residing in large family groups along the banks of rivers. When our cavalry arrived at Sholapore (where the Company’s garrison protecting the Peshwa is stationed) we sent out some chaps for survey and they took us to Seena about 10 miles away. To our joy we found about 30 pigs, completely unafraid of us. They are quite fast runners and swerve unpredictably which makes for tremendous sport. We killed three before breakfast and will return for the rest later.

Saturday 15th July 1820

The Blenden Hall (Greig), of 474 tons, will sail for England on 13th August. Passengers apply to M/s Remington Crawford & Co. A Doctor is on the crew.

(NB – the provision of ship’s doctors has become common on the passenger services between India and England but is unavailable for coasting and other Asian voyages)

Saturday 15th July 1820

The Bheels are the hereditary police of the Mughal Raj. We have endeavoured to accommodate them in our new possessions in the Deccan and elsewhere but they subvert our commercial interests. They are active in Candeish, above and below the Ghauts, and in the settlements along the Godavary and Ahmednaggur river valleys. We sent agents to their chiefs and told them we are reliable, unlike the Peshwa or Nizam, but they claimed their hereditary powers.

We offered them the chance to quit their mountain bases and settle in the sown if they could establish the hereditary rights that they claimed but they are devoted to the rule of power and could not comprehend the benefits of agreement and compromise. They live almost naked and practise polygamy. They consider the mountains as their personal fiefs and hold the cultivator of the plains in contempt.

After several days of fruitless persuasion, we attacked them violently. A large force of foot and horse was put under our Political Agent in Candeish. The Talookdars, who co-operate with the Bheels, were tried for their lives and punished or banished to distant parts….. next page missing.

Saturday 15th July 1820

Government Notice of new Shipping Regulation of 31st May 1820 for immigration control:

Some arriving crew members are deserting. Soldiers in our European regiments are likewise deserting to join the crews of visiting ships. The Governor-in-Council requires every ship arriving at Bombay to surrender its Log Book for examination.

Captains of all Company and country ships and other vessels at Bombay are to report to the Superintendent’s Office on arrival and present both the Log Book and the authorities for carriage of any passengers. Ships will in future obtain a Port Entry Certificate only after production of the Superintendent’s certificate that this procedure has been obeyed.

Captains of departing ships will deliver to the Port Inspector a list of crew and passengers showing all changes (deaths, desertions, illnesses) since departure from the originating port. No Port Clearance Certificate will be granted until this has been done.

If any European or American seaman is to be discharged at Bombay, or if any one of them deserts, immediate notice must be given to the Senior Police Magistrate. The Company will pay a reward of 8 Rupees for the apprehension of each deserter, which will be repaid to the Company by the ship owner or master.

Failure to immediately report the discharge or desertion of European or American seamen will result in a fine of 500 Rupees for the first offence and 1,000 Rupees for subsequent offences.

No new European or American seaman is to be signed-on articles unless he presents a written permission of the Superintendent or Town Mayor. Captains or ship owners employing deserters from HM’s or the Company’s service will be fined 500 Rupees for a first offence and 1,000 Rupees for each subsequent offence.

Saturday 15th July 1820

Bengal Hurkaru, 23rd June – James MacKillop resigned from the Bank of Bengal at the AGM yesterday and George Cruttenden was elected by a large majority as his replacement.

Saturday 12th August 1820

The Caranja Ferry monopoly will be auctioned 21st August. The new monopoly will commence from 1st September 1820.

Saturday 26th August 1820

Proclamation, 9th August – Mocha and all other Gulf ports in the ownership of the Imam of Sana are under blockade. When our Resident Ramsey died at Mocha in 1817 he had already contracted to ship the Company’s coffee to Bombay. Lt Dominicetti assumed the acting Residency. The contract was with the shipowning brother of the pirate Mohamed Akil (who killed the Captain of the American ship Essex). He is the owner of the Deriah Beggi, the involved ship.

On the death of Ramsey, the ship owner no longer wished to perform his contract and Dominicetti arrested some people to encourage him. This caused several hundred Arab soldiers to take all the factory occupants before the Dola where they were roughly treated. In their absence the factory was plundered.

It is the British position that the Dola cannot take executive action against our nationals but must refer all such cases to the Imam. A squadron has been sent to obtain reparation. Hence the blockade.

Saturday 2nd September 1820

Mocha is the original centre of the coffee trade. It was the last town in Yemen that the Porte abandoned to the Arabs, being the richest. He only disposed of it when he was short of cash and the Arabs offered money.

Since then it has been ruled by the Imam of Sana and has continued to be a cash-cow. The Dola appointed to command the town usually gets an annually renewable appointment. He delivers his accounts after the monsoon each year and the Imam then decides whether to extend him for a further year.

Saturday 9th September 1820

King’s Bench, 28th March – Joseph Barretto of Portland Place, the Calcutta merchant and banker, lent £1,300 to Lord Viscount Torrington. When he asked for repayment he received written abuse. He says he was put in fear and requests the protection of the law.

Torrington says he would not have borrowed it if it had not first been offered. He says on the terms now demanded by Barretto he could have borrowed it from any money-lender in town.

Torrington had introduced Barretto to all the important people when he had been in Calcutta. He had obtained a Fellowship in the Royal Society for Barretto even though he was Eurasian. He had written to Lord Sidmouth endeavouring to get Barretto an introduction at Court and had given him every assistance in procuring a title and a seat in Parliament and had only been defeated because of Barretto’s skin colour. As a result of accompanying Barretto in London, he (Torrington) had been exposed to contempt and ridicule.

Judge Bayley was satisfied Torrington had not caused a breach of the peace.

Saturday 16th September 1820

Married 9th September 1820 at St Thomas’ Church Bombay by the Reverend T Carr, Capt Henry Pottinger, Collector at Ahmednugger, and Susanna Maria, eldest daughter of the late Capt Cooke of H M’s 82nd Regiment.

Saturday 16th September 1820

Letter from Rangoon, 18th August – All the information we get from Ava seems to indicate the new King is a mild and humane chap and friendly to foreigners. This might be a good opportunity to build the relationship between the governments of India and Burma.

His popular approval has increased with the discovery of a white elephant in the lower reaches of the Irrawaddy which is deemed to be a propitious sign.

Saturday 30th September 1820

Piracy in the Persian Gulf persuaded the Company to send an expedition which has just returned. They found the pirate’s base was at Ras el Khyma which is close to and dominates the Straits of Hormuz. They occupied the town, destroyed it and its fort and returned.

Saturday 7th October 1820

Bengal Hurkaru, 6th September – An attempt was made at Kedgeree a few days ago to fire the ship Maitland prior to her departure for China. It is under investigation.

Saturday 14th October 1820

The 4th Bombay sessions of the Recorder’s Court has commenced and the following have been sworn-in as Grand Jurors:

Capt George Barnes, Capt W T Graham, Capt John Mack, Commodore William Manwaring, John Best, Father Bourebon, William George Bird, M T D de Vitre, Bazett Doveton, E E Elliot, Thomas G Gardiner, James Henderson, Wm Howell, Archibald Inglis, William Jardine, Evan Lloyd, C McLeod, Richard Mills, Benjamin Norton, Wm Peel, Thomas Riddoch.

As usual the Recorder briefly introduced the cases to be tried. The Jury then retired with the 19 Bills of Indictment. They returned in an hour with true Bills in some cases and not in others.[214]

Saturday 21st October 1820

Calcutta Journal, 21st September – Merritch (Miraj) is a well-administered and productive territory lying along the southern bank of the Kristna River but its Rajah is suspected at Calcutta of supporting Indian nationalism and is accordingly deemed an enemy of the Company. It is expected that his state will either be put under British protection or ceded to us.

Saturday 4th November 1820

Bombay Notice, 27th October – The Governor repudiates the conduct of those officers, civil and military, who commandeer villagers and their carts to help them travel through our newly acquired territories in the Deccan.

This practise is deeply resented in the southern Maratha lands. You should all provide your own carriages and horses before commencement of your journey.

Saturday 18th November 1820

J Marjoribanks has been appointed Governor-General’s Agent in Bundelcund. Another Marjoribanks commands one of the Indiamen on the China route, a third is a shipbuilder in London, a fourth is on the Select Committee at Canton and a fifth has just arrived in India as a Cadet.

Saturday 2nd December 1820

Bombay, 20th November – the partnership of Dinshaw Dadabhoy, Nowrojee Jamasjee and Dadabhoy Rustomjee is dissolved from today.

The business will be continued as a sole proprietorship of Dinshaw Dadabhoy under the same trading name of Dinshaw Nowrojee & Co.

Saturday 2nd December 1820

The Indiaman Waterloo required help on the high seas and the salvors raised a routine claim which the Company rejected. The Directors’ defence was that the Company is a creature of the King and enjoys the same exemptions to salvage rights as the King’s ships (warships).

On 4th July, Sir William Scott for the Admiralty Court issued the Court’s Judgment which is that the Company can claim no such exemption. He awarded £4,000 to the salvors and costs against the Company.

Saturday 9th December 1820

Notice, 9th October – The Company is supposed to maintain a register of natives employed by itself and the private Europeans in its territory. The law was enacted in 1799 to restrain the use of locals’ names as nominees for our loans to Indian princes. It has remained in abeyance until now.

William Ashburner Morgan has now been appointed Registrar of Natives for Bombay Presidency and is taking his duties seriously. All British subjects residing at Bombay, Surat, Broach, etc., and all other dependencies of the Bombay Presidency are required to apply for employment licences for any native domestic staff, agents or partners.

Saturday 9th December 1820

The Company has maintained friendly relations with Mulu Manik, the Sultan of Dwarka, for many years but in the last two years he has unaccountably broken his treaties with us and combined with some neighbouring chiefs to rebel against our authority.

An army under Lt Colonel Lincoln Stanhope has been sent to remonstrate with him. Manik sent his brother to consult the Rajah of Bate but no breakthrough resulted. The Rajah is co-operating with us.

We invested Dwarka Fort on 25th November and, further negotiations being unsuccessful, commenced a siege. Stanhope is using artillery on the landward side and the services of the Company’s warship Nautilus (Middleton) at sea.

This threat was sufficient to restart negotiations but Manik was unreasonable. He wanted a pension and our agreement to his remaining in Okamandel. We then took the place by escalade.

The garrison is composed of Arabs and the remnants of Sindhia’s men. They were armed with matchlocks and swords. We drove them off the ramparts and back to the pagoda, then took the pagoda as well, forcing them into the jungle. We took 50 prisoners in the pagoda and about 60 injured men in the jungle where they could not withstand our 6-pounder grapeshot fire. They are the living remnant of a garrison of 550 troops.

We had four killed and 28 wounded.[215]

Saturday 16th December 1820

Buckingham, the Editor of the Calcutta Journal, has been prosecuted for libelling the Company by publishing a letter signed Aemulus on 6th November.

The Defence first queried the power of the Court to proceed by criminal information in a libel case. In such cases the Company prosecutor merely lodges an information which becomes the subject matter of the Jury’s decision (i.e. similar to the British Attorney General’s ex officio informations against democrats in London – see the Dissent chapter).

The Editor intends to show he had no criminal intent. He said he only had two days notice of the prosecution and he needed more time. The Judge said two days notice should be more than adequate for him. Defence counsel noted that Judges are dedicated to their employment whilst Editors have many things to do.

The prosecutor established that other courts in Madras and Bengal had proceeded by criminal information in libel cases and it was commonly done in British courts in the West Indies. After seven days of hearing, the Judge was satisfied he had jurisdiction.

Saturday 23rd December 1820

Bombay, 16th December – John Bax of the Company’s civil service has been admitted a partner in M/s Shotton Malcolm & Co

Saturday 30th December 1820

Advertisement – M/s Lugrin & Watson have received the first part of their China orders from the Hannah (Heathorn) and offer fine Hyson and black teas, white and brown nankeens and a few camphorwood chests.

Saturday 6th January 1821

Notice – A recital of the new Regulation requiring all visiting European and American people to register their arrivals and departures with the Company.

Saturday 13th January 1821

The Recorder’s Court in Bombay commenced the new session last Saturday. Wm Jardine is again a Grand Juror.

Saturday 20th January 1821

Madras – John D’Monte retired from the partnership on 31st December and John Fraser will join on 1st February after which date the firm will be known as Arbuthnot & Co

Saturday 3rd February 1821

The Dutch intend to invade Palembang to bring its ruler into submission but they have had to postpone their attack. They have been unable to fund another expedition owing to poor revenue receipts on Java. Instead they will blockade the river and prevent the Sultan’s trade. That might encourage his submission. It has become known at Batavia that Palembang imports a part of its necessaries and is not self-sufficient.

Saturday 24th February 1821

Calcutta Gazette – a young Arab who has just spent three years with the Wahhabi sect in Arabia is coming here to explain the nature of their dispute with the Porte. He was found by the Company’s surveying ship Discovery whilst on the coast SW of Musandam.

Saturday 24th February 1821

The Dutch have sent an envoy to London to expostulate against our new colony at Singapore. It has drawn much of the business away from Malacca. They also wish to discuss their factories in India.

The City merchants have sought to ensure the failure of this Dutch initiative by sending a Memorial to the ministry listing the great advantages of Singapore to our merchants and ship owners and praying that they be kept in mind in the Dutch negotiations.

They have suggested an equitable arrangement whereby British and Dutch ships and goods be admitted to each other’s ports under equal duties.

Castlereagh has told them he will do his best.

Saturday 3rd March 1821

Bombay – The Executors of the Estate of the late Rose Nesbit are auctioning her real property on 10th April and succeeding days. The Lots comprise 11 houses, 3 stables, 13 warehouses and 1 office within the Fort; an extensive house and grounds at Byculla; the estate and village of Mattawady, another house at Byculla and a piece of land with a stable at Mahim.

Saturday 3rd March 1821

Captain Taylor, the Company’s Resident at Basra has been instructed by the senior Resident at Baghdad to strike his flag and depart. A person under British protection at Basra has had his property seized by the Turkish government and that is said to be the cause of the quarrel.

Taylor has locked-up the Residency and gone downstream a few miles to camp. He has not removed the books and files in expectation of an early accommodation but all British merchants have been instructed to cease business with the Turks until the matter is adjusted.

All cargo loading and offloading to / from British ships is halted.

Saturday 17th March 1821

Madras Gazette 3rd March – The Government Gazette of Penang for 1st January 1821 reported Singapore trade was stagnant.

A merchant at Singapore responded on 28th January with a letter quoting the Singapore government’s trade statistics showing imports and exports in the prior 7 months were valued at nearly $2 millions.

Saturday 24th March 1821

Throughout 1820 the Company has been acting against pirates along the S E coast of the Persian Gulf. An attempt was made against Beni Boo Ali but failed disastrously and a second force was sent to retrieve the Company’s reputation.[216]

Major General Smith commanded the second (larger) expedition and put down the clan of Beni Boo Ali on 2nd March. The clan had first attacked the General’s base at the port of Sur. Capt Thompson’s detachment was overwhelmed and lost its 6- and 18-pounders and ammunition.

Smith approached the town of the clan and met their army of about 1,000 who had come out before it. The Arabs were mainly armed with scimitars and some matchlocks. He found no provisions available in the neighbourhood and put his army on reduced rations.

About 500 enemy were killed or wounded in the battle and subsequent assault of the town. The heavy enemy losses were due to the Arabs using mainly swords whilst the Company relied on artillery firing grapeshot at a distance. 236 prisoners were taken of whom 96 were wounded. There remain about 1,000 family members. The two clan chiefs were both wounded and captured by us. Our losses were 29 killed and 175 wounded.

Smith attributes his success to the two horse brigades equipped with 12-pounders.

Saturday 24th March 1821

Bengal Hurkaru, 2nd March – The Thais are assembling an army to attack Kedah in N W Malaya.

Saturday 31st March 1821

Capt William Bruce has negotiated a satisfactory treaty on 15th January with the Imam of Sana. The blockade of Mocha and other ports belonging to the Imam was called-off the same day.

The Treaty allows the British Resident at Mocha to:

  • maintain the same guard of 30 men as the Residents at Baghdad, Basra and Bushire.
  • ride a horse wherever he pleases.
  • enter Mocha by any of the gates (the Sheikh Shadeley Gate has been hitherto prohibited to Europeans).
  • travel to Sana and interview the Imam whenever he wishes.

All British subjects trading to Mocha have the protection of the British flag – British Muslims may opt for Sharia Law if they prefer. The Resident will arbitrate all differences between British subjects. In case of a dispute between British subjects and Arabs, the arbitration will be done jointly by the Resident and the Mocha Governor’s representative. A piece of ground is allowed for a British cemetery.

Anchorage duty of 400 German Crowns on merchant ships is taken off.

Import and export duty is fixed at 2¼% ad valorem as is already allowed to French merchants.

Saturday 31st March 1821

Bombay, 26th March – William Milburn reports that Alexander MacIntosh has joined his firm which will henceforward be known as Milburn MacIntosh & Co.

Saturday 31st March 1821

Qeshm, 11th March – The Persians are annoyed by our occupation of this island in the Straits of Hormuz. We established a base here to combat piracy but now an envoy from Shiraz has come to remonstrate with our garrison commander.

Saturday 7th April 1821

Notice – the Partridge (Hanwell) 516 tons has been repaired and requires freight for China, departing mid May.

Saturday 21st April 1821

The 2nd Bombay Sessions started on 14th April. A Grand Jury of 22 men (including William Jardine) were sworn in under Foreman James Henderson.

Saturday 28th April 1821

Notice, 24th April – Anyone planning to travel in the territories or dependencies of the Pasha of Baghdad will in future require a Company passport. British Residents in Ottoman lands will stop any British traveller without a passport. Apply to the Secretary of the Political Dept.

Saturday 28th April 1821

The Company invites tenders to operate the Second Bombay Lottery under government authority. The highest tender with approved security will win. Submit your sealed bids before 1st May. Tender amount to be paid by 1st August.

The Lottery will issue 2,400 tickets at 100 Rupees each i.e. 240,000 Rupees gross income. 527 tickets will win prizes worth totally 226,000 Rupees. The balance is to fund the construction of public buildings in Bombay.[217]

Saturday 19th May 1821

Supreme Government, Judicial Dept, 13th April – Fry Magniac is appointed Judge and magistrate of Moorshedabad.

Saturday 26th May 1821

Calcutta, 1st May – John Hutcheson Fergusson has retired from the firm of Fergusson Clark & Co. The remaining partners – David Clark, Peter Reierson, John Melville and John Smith – will continue the business under the style Fergusson & Co.

Calcutta, 1st March – McClintock & Co announce that William Morton of the Company’s service and Henry Hamilton Bell have joined the firm which is renamed as McClintock Morton & Co. Morton will reside at Fattyghur (Fatehgarh) to serve the needs of our constituents there for Agency services and to trade in goods on commission.[218]

Saturday 26th May 1821

Barretto has submitted his candidature for the representation of the Borough of St Albans which seat was vacated by the death of Robarts. Its one of the Company’s seats in the Commons.

The London papers say he was born in Calcutta when that city was already a British possession. He is the son of a Portuguese merchant by an Indian lady.

Barretto claims there is legal authority supporting his right to sit in House of Commons but the Bombay Courier Editor doubts he can qualify on nationality.

Saturday 26th May 1821

Raffles has taken possession of the island of Nias, off the S W coast of Sumatra. He is forming a settlement at Dalam in the S E point of the island. Nias was formerly reliant on the slave trade which Raffles will now try to annihilate.

Saturday 16th June 1821

London, 20th February – Michie Forbes has retired from Forbes & Co Bombay and John Stewart is returning to that place to assume the duties of resident head partner. (He arrived Bombay on 11th June to take up his duties.)

Saturday 16th June 1821

Bengal Hurkaru, 24th May:

  • There are 5 American ships in Padang roads buying coffee at $20 and pepper at $9, each per picul. The Americans bring silver for their purchases and help Asian commerce to flow.
  • Raffles’ new town on Nias is growing and he has the help of the Bugis people who guard the seven ports on the island. They have committed to ensure slavery does not regain a foothold.

Saturday 16th June 1821

Bells’ Weekly Messenger, 5th March 1821 – The Company has shipped the Nassak Diamond to London. It formerly belonged to the Peshwa of the Marathas and was seized from his baggage in the so-called Pindari War. It probably originates from the alluvial diamond deposits of the Krishna River near Golconda.

It weighs over 89 carats and is cut in a triangular shape. It will be the third largest diamond in Europe after the Pitt diamond and the one belonging to the Tsar.[219]

Saturday 7th July 1821

The Company’s Customs Farmer for Poona, Shesha Chillum Moodliar, received several pledges for payment of Customs and Transit duties on goods transiting the district but the originating duties have still not been paid and the undermentioned pledges will be sold in satisfaction of the debts:

122 bullock loads belonging to Husseinjee
210 bullock loads belonging to Jehangir
63 bullock loads belonging to Timojee Wunjara
120 bullock loads belonging to Ruttonjee
83 bullock loads belonging to Jehangir Rustomjee
43 bullock loads belonging to Devidass of Jaulna
47 bullock loads belonging to Arab Bhaee
27 bullock loads belonging to Jafferjee

Saturday 21st July 1821

The 3rd Session of the Bombay Court commenced 14th July. Wm Jardine is no longer one of the Grand Jurors.

Saturday 21st July 1821

Calcutta Journal, 27th June – A party of natives was sent by Dr McCrae from Chittagong to capture elephants and was seized by officers of the Kutcha Rajah, who is tributary to the King of Burma.

The Rajah’s men demand a ransom for the return of our natives together with all the elephants we had taken. Lt Fisher led a party of natives on surveying duties and was also seized.

Our Chittagong garrison is preparing a punitive expedition.

Saturday 4th August 1821

Capt J W Graham of the Company’s army has sent the Editor a poem commemorating the life of Napoleon. Here are the first and last verses:

Whate’er the present or past times have done
From all, by Heaven, the palm Napoleon’s won.
Let others boast their ancestry and state,
Here actions give the record of the great.

Stones may moulder, epitaphs decay,
The heart’s impressions can ne’er wear away:
While there’s a heart that greatness can command,
That can forget Napoleon le Grand.

This induces an anonymous reader to send in a poem the following week excoriating Napoleon, followed by several other complaints against eulogising a national enemy.

Saturday 11th August 1821

Notice, 1st August – Our partner Theodore Forbes died and his interest in the firm ceased w.e.f. 31st July 1821. We have admitted his brother James Forbes as a partner from today. Sgd Forbes & Co, Bombay

Saturday 11th August 1821

The Dutch are having another go at Palembang. They cannot overlook the execution of their factory members in 1814. If that goes unpunished, they fear no one will respect them and they will have to compete like the locals. The insistence to make the attempt originates in Amsterdam.

It is the same problem that the Company faces in India – the need to maintain a standing army to instantly punish every insult or injury and reverse every defeat to ensure our supremacy over the local Kings. Should we once be beaten and not take vengeance, our ability to rule will be compromised and we might as well all go home.

The new expedition set out from Batavia on 9th and 10th May but almost immediately lost a couple of ships (Jacoba and Zelima) at the mouth of the Sunda Straits. It is consequently reduced to 11 frigates and 2 brigs. It is said to comprise 2,000 Dutch and 800 Javanese troops. Some of the fleet have been chartered from English owners in India so we receive good information.

Meanwhile the Sultan has been assiduously collecting troops and arms & ammunition and the state of the defences on the river to his capital are said to be quite formidable. He has been buying supplies at our factory at Bencoolen.

Saturday 18th August 1821

Negotiations between the Dutch and British ministries in London over Singapore continue but from Batavia we hear the Dutch are agreeable to withdrawing their claim to the place and possibly even to Rhio and Banka Island if they can be suitably accommodated. This is directly contrary to the policy they have pursued in Asia since their return and appears more promising.

Singapore is trading buoyantly and gives every hope of success. People from Palembang visiting Singapore say the Sultan of Palembang is aware that his surrender to the Dutch will mean his death and he is determined to resist. It is also rumoured that the Dutch warships at Batavia are in unseaworthy condition.

Saturday 18th August 1821

Meanwhile at a shareholders meeting of the Company, the Directors have eulogised Canning for his 5 years at the Board of Control. Canning has written to the Directors that the Board is intended legislatively to be ‘corrective, coercive and repressive; that it can negative appointments but not appoint, that it can stem the flow of beneficence but not offer any office of grace or favour’.

The Directors were pleased to see these powers had been controlled during Canning’s benign administration. They say Canning has provided an excellent example of how the Board should co-operate with the Directors. Canning had approved the Company’s appointment of its own servants as Presidential Governors – Elphinstone to Bombay and Munro to Madras – appointments which were formerly in the gift of the Minister.

Bathurst has told us that Canning declined Governor-General Moira’s request for the restraint of the press in India.

A complaint was made by one shareholder against Munro, Governor of Madras. Munro’s policy of combining the duties of Magistrate and Collector was intolerable, he said. The same man assesses the rates, collects them and judges those who do not pay. Aristotle said that the collection of revenue and the administration of justice must be separate. On the other hand, Munro’s creation of Native Courts and Native Agency was wonderful and had completely cleared the backlog of cases wherever it had been instituted.

Elphinstone was lauded for abolishing press censorship at Bombay as soon as he was appointed Governor there.

Saturday 1st September 1821

Singapore, 3rd July – Palembang has fallen to the Dutch. The Sultan has been captured.

Saturday 8th September 1821

Jamsetjee Bomanjee Wadia died 31st August aged 61 years after nearly 54 years in the Company’s service. He built several of the largest Indiamen and country ships and is the only Indian to have built a capital ship for the Royal Navy (HMS Minden, 74 guns in November 1810).

He approached his dissolution embittered at the Company for not granting his application for a piece of land for his family’s security. It was belatedly granted on his death bed but he was by then unaware of it.

Saturday 8th September 1821

Bombay Castle, 5th September, Government Dockyard appointments:

Nourojee Jamsetjee is to be Head Ship-Builder vice Jamsetjee Bomanjee, deceased.

Cursetjee Rustomjee is to be 2nd Ship-Builder.

Saturday 8th September 1821

The Lady Flora has been seized by the Company’s Master Attendant at the Cape. She was licensed for a voyage Calcutta/China/Calcutta and intermediate ports.

The Agent decided the Cape was not intermediate. She carried no tea when arrested although her licence was a tea licence.

Saturday 29th September 1821

Letter from Goa, 16th September – a revolution has occurred here. The Viceroy has been arrested and sent to Cabo.

One source of dissatisfaction is the unemployed civil servants who arrived with letters of introduction but have not been employed.

Another is the army which issued an unsigned Order today at Panjum proclaiming the Day of Liberty had arrived.[220]

Saturday 13th October 1821

The House of Commons Committee on British Trade to India and China has told the House it cannot complete its report within this parliamentary session but some of their findings can be immediately applied to the relief of British commerce.

The particular contradiction that has attracted the Committee is the restraint of British trade in the Company’s dominions in pursuit of its monopoly which is not applied to the foreign, and particularly American, trade.

It was said the Company disadvantages British people to protect its domestic market when all it should really be concerned about is its monopoly in tea.

Saturday 6th October 1821

Two Major Generals and three officials of the Goa government have declared on 16th September at Panjim that the people and troops of Goa accept the Constitution that was approved by King Joao in His Decree of 24th February. The five men have formed a provisional junta and the Viceroy, Conde de Rio Pardo, who opposed the Junta, has been sent to Cabo.

The junta is comprised of Major Generals Manoel Godinho de Mira and Joachim Manoel Correa da Silva e Gama and three of the ex-Viceroy’s officials – Manoel Jose Gomes Loureiro, Gonsalo de Magalhaens Teixeira Pinto and Manoel Duarte Leitao.

The troops formerly served the Viceroy. Now they serve the Portuguese nation in India, as represented by the Junta.

Declaration of the Junta to the Goanese people – “After 316 years and 95 Viceroys, Goa is finally relieved of tyranny. Don Joao VI has approved the Constitution of Portugal.” Etc.

Saturday 13th October 1821

Revenue Dept Notice, 12th October – Henry Frederick Dent is appointed Acting 2nd Assistant to the Collector at Poona.

Saturday 20th October 1821

Mozambique, 7th September – the new Portuguese Governor of this colony, Lt General Joao Manuel da Silva, arrived from Rio on 29th August but was not allowed to land. It transpired that the Portuguese Constitution has been declared by the garrison at Mozambique too.

He was allowed ashore two days later as a private person and argued his case sufficiently well for the army officers to agree to resign their commissions. They commend other sections of the community to accept the Governor.

On 6th September the principal merchants met with the new Governor at the Leal Senado where the Governor, another army officer, the bishop and some merchants were selected as the provisional government. The garrison is temporarily commanded by an ensign as all the more senior officers have resigned.

Saturday 27th October 1821

House of Commons, 1st June:

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has introduced his budget.

One aspect relates to services provided to government by the East India Company in 1793 most of which were yet to be paid for.

Another item related to the loan of St Helena to government for the incarceration of Napoleon. This was loaned on the express condition that all expenses were for government account. The Company’s expenses had totalled nearly £300,000 and repayment is requested.

Government promised last May to pay £500,000 of the total debt claimed with the balance in July but no payment had in fact yet been made.

Saturday 3rd November 1821

An officer of the Madras army has written a Summary of the Maratha and Pindari Campaigns, 1817-19. He calls himself Carnaticus and says he has served more with native troops than European. He says the native soldiers lacked motivation in the campaigns and he ascribes it to a deficiency of courage and strength (these were campaigns against the Indian nationalist movement). For this reason Carnaticus is assumed to be one of H M’s officers and has been publicly criticised as all the militant Governors-General have historically always applauded the bravery of the Indian sepoy. That should be sufficient authority for everyone.

He says he is a Company servant in the Madras army. He deplores the affair at Talnair and says it was palliated by the European troops in spite of the errors of Sir Thomas Hislop. In all the battles that the Company has fought, it has been the steadiness of the European part of the army that has been crucial and they draw on their deepest reserves because defeat by a native army is intolerable to them. It is the Europeans who carry a breach or take a fort by assault. It is the same national characteristic that kept us fighting after we had been repeatedly defeated by France (Napoleon’s accusation of ‘eternal war’).[221]

The uncertainty of the native army is exhibited when they fight alone. In the Gurkha War, a Battalion of Bengal troops on the heights of Nann under Major L advanced in support of half the grenadier Company of H M’s 53rd Regiment. Perceiving the stout resistance of the enemy and the lack of progress of the grenadiers, the Battalion turned about and marched back to camp. This failure was formally attributed to the precipitance of the European advance but the real cause was the disobedience of Major L in neglecting the orders of Lt Colonel McDowell.

The difficulties of the native army are threefold. They all lack their full complement of European officers; the native officers are not up to the job; and, in the Madras and Bombay armies, the innate lack of anger and violence in the character of the Indian people inducted into the army.

The Company’s army should either reject all the troops under 8 stone (112 lbs) or provide alternative arms and equipment that are more suitable for small people. To address this difficulty in the Madras army, we keep 60-70 boys of 9+ years (children of Sepoys) in each Battalion on 1 Pagoda a month so they can prepare themselves for the physical hardship, but it has not answered the problem. We really need northerners to come south and enlist but they are deterred by the high cost and low quality of provisions in the Madras army. Perhaps we should investigate the viability of drafting in Arabs, Seedees and Malays and discipline these entrants by European officers in HM’s service.

The Bengal Pioneers are useless for most service. In Java they refused to bury the dead or the horses; at Mauritius they sulked and refused to pull the guns, calling out to their officers as ‘father’ and even ‘Almighty’ to give them food and water. The Madras army on that occasion kept pace with the European regiments but the Bengalis could only be cajoled with difficulty into carrying their own (free) provisions from the stores to the barracks. Getting a Bengal Battalion into motion is difficult. In December 1818 / January 1819 a Bengal detachment against Appah Sahib was unable to move for 3 weeks because the officers could obtain no cattle to carry their baggage.

There are also problems deriving from caste and religion. When a veteran Bengal Battalion was sailing to Java, three Sepoys under Major P G starved themselves to death because the Brahmin who should sanctify their food was seasick.

Carnaticus believes, as a general rule, that the fewer foreigners in the European regiments the better, but the opposite is the case in the native army – the greater the number of nationalities the better. Then the army is comprised of small groups which improves control as they will unlikely combine against their officers and the groups may be induced to compete between themselves. In the Travancore War the Madras and Ceylon armies served together and competed. The Madrassis criticised the Singhalese for eating a European diet – they called them ‘kala ferenghi’ – but union raised their martial qualities by competition. Everyone recalls that the Iron Duke at Waterloo distributed the Belgium units in his army along the line so they could be readily observed (the loyalty of French-speaking Belgians was suspect).

(The next edition carries a letter from ‘a soldier’ identifying Carnaticus as a volunteer with only brief military service at Banca where he was Inspector of Tin Mines. ‘A soldier’ says Carnaticus only served in that one campaign.)

Saturday 17th November 1821

The latest build of Jamsetjee Bomanjee has been launched at Bombay Docks. She is HMS Ganges, 2,272 tons, a 74-gun capital ship for the Royal Navy.

She is the largest ship yet built in India. A crew is being formed from the complement of HMS Liverpool to sail her to London.

Saturday 24th November 1821

India House, 4th July – A meeting of the Company’s shareholders was told Lansdowne’s new law would permit every Briton to sail port-to-port around India and take away the produce to England.

The Chairman said the Directors had remonstrated with ministers but the shipping interest made out a strong case for the concession and the Directors were unable to prevail.

The censorship of the Press in India was discussed. There was no history of censorship in British India prior to Lord Wellesley’s administration. His was a viciously restrictive regime that survived only briefly after he left. Lord Hastings (Moira) abolished the most flagrant aspects but retained control over what could be published although he never exerted that control. Nevertheless, whilst the law continued, there was little in the London papers that could be legally published unedited in India.

It was Canning’s appointment to the Board of Control that brought censorship to an end in India. The Chairman assured the meeting that there was no intention of undoing Hastings’ reforms.

Saturday 1st December 1821

Claudius James Rich, our late Resident at Baghdad, has died at Shiraz on 5th October. He was appointed to the Company’s civil service in 1803 and was noted for his particular skill in acquiring foreign languages. (He is mentioned in the 2nd June 1804 edition)

He was made Assistant to Lock who was then sent as the Company’s Consul General in the Mediterranean. That gave Rich the opportunity to visit Spain and Italy. When Lock died at Malta, Rich continued to Constantinople and later Smyrna where he became an assistant to Colonel Misset who was the Company’s Resident for the Levant, based in Egypt. He acquired Arabic at Alexandria and Cairo and then made his way through Syria to Damascus and thence to Aleppo, Baghdad and ultimately Bombay, where he arrived in 1807.

His knowledge of Turkish and Arabic made him an obvious choice for Resident at Baghdad and, when the Directors were informed of his skills, they added Basra to his Residency.

During the hot Baghdad summers he adjourned north to Kurdistan, collected materials there and wrote an account of those people and their land that he considered his most important work.

He is survived by his wife, the eldest daughter of Sir James Mackintosh, who accompanied him at Baghdad during his 14 years of solitude

Saturday 1st December 1821

Calcutta, 8th November – The Company’s Advocate General is instructed to prosecute Buckingham, the Editor of the Calcutta Journal, for publishing several articles and letters in early November 1821 tending to influence public opinion on the matter of a libel that the Company is already prosecuting him for. The complaints almost entirely relate to letters of readers which the Editor thought fit to publish.[222]

The particular complaint of the Company is the suggestion in these letters that people are unable to obtain redress by application to its servants, but may achieve success by application to the newspapers. It says this libels the government which is easy of access and readily deals with all applications made to it. The letter-writers contrarily assert that government can only be moved if you have a friend in the civil service who will promote your case.

One letter–writer appears to be the defendant to a prosecution and asserts that the Grand Juries in Calcutta always give the result the Company’s prosecutors want. These complaints had been aired day after day in the Calcutta Journal.

The Advocate General wants a criminal information from the Judge for the Editor’s contempt of court and obstruction of the course of justice, etc.

The Court (Sir Francis MacNaughten) thought it wrong to grant Informations after the Grand Jury had been discharged (they do not sit during the hearings and only vote on whether a ‘true Bill’ has been found prior to hearing). His Judgment was to require Buckingham to ‘shew cause’ why an Information should not be granted.

Saturday 8th December 1821

Kishm, 8th November – the British garrison here on anti-piracy duty is affected by cholera. The water supply which was sweet when we arrived has since become brackish and unpalatable.

Saturday 8th December 1821

Calcutta Journal, 16th November – The Burmese King at Ava assembled an enormous army of 150,000 at Martaban on the Thai border, apparently preparatory to an invasion of that country, but the cost of rice has meanwhile increased significantly and he fears he can no longer adequately provision his forces. The cause of his hostile posture was unknown to the European community at Rangoon.

Saturday 15th December 1821

Goa, 6th December – a counter-revolution on 3rd December has won back the government of this place from the Constitutionalists and a new Junta is appointed.

Manuel de Camara is Governor. He recently arrived from Rio as the new Captain General of Portuguese India. His four senators are Brigadier General de Mello, the Physician General, the Archbishop of Cranganore and Decembargado Lyal.

The previous Junta lost popularity by acting against the interests of the army and all five of its members have been arrested and imprisoned. Don Manoel, the former Captain General, has taken possession of the Palace at Pangim.

The Company has taken little interest in the proceedings at Goa noting firstly, that the territory does not produce a sufficient revenue for the maintenance of the Portuguese administration and secondly, that the numbers of involved people are very small. It characterises the revolution as a factional dispute amongst commercial interests.

Saturday 15th December 1821

Calcutta Journal, 22nd November – The Governor-General has appointed John Crawfurd to lead a mission to Thailand and Cochin China. They have just left Calcutta on the John Adams. Capt Dangerfield will assist Crawfurd. Finlayson is the naturalist for the expedition. Lt Rutherford commands the escort.

Crawfurd’s instructions are to open trade with both countries.

Saturday 22nd December 1821

Letter from the Court of Directors, 13th June – beating natives is wrong. We ordered the military and civil services to cease doing so in 1813. We now wish it known amongst all other Europeans in our territories. Anyone guilty of maltreating a native shall forthwith be sent back to England.

Saturday 22nd December 1821

Not all the mail by the overland route travels Aleppo, Baghdad, Basra and thence by sea to Bombay. Messengers occasionally travel overland with despatches to Teheran, in which event the Indian mail comes down to Bushire from whence it is sea-carried to Bombay.

Saturday 22nd December 1821

Calcutta Journal, 15th November – Judge Smith has just been appointed to Meerut. He has considerably reduced the incidence of theft and, in doing so, discovered that most crime is facilitated, if not organised, by the police.

One Meerut officer has been committed on suspicion of concealing a murder for 3,000 Rupees; another is under investigation for a similar offence. Three others have absconded on discovering that the Judge will receive and investigate complaints from even the humblest farmer.

Apparently some villagers have revealed a 5% tax on their production that has been unauthorisedly been levied by the Meerut police for several years.

The conspirators have now struck back. They have told the hoi polloi that Smith is only Acting Judge and will not remain long, after which all scores will be settled.

Saturday 5th January 1822

Letter to the Editor from A silladar:

The Deccan horse is the best horse of India. It is bred in the country intersected by the Beema, Nera, Seena and Kristna Rivers. It is quite unnecessary to seek for a supply of horses in Arabia or Persia for our cavalry when we have this fine domestic horse. With our recent territorial acquisitions in the Deccan we can now breed it ourselves. It appears to be an Arab cross and has the height of an Arab but is easier to manage although probably not quite so strong.[223]

The Bombay and Madras armies buy 7,000 horses for their cavalry and artillery at a cost of some 500,000 Rupees a year. We should invest this money in Deccan horse-breeding. The people of the Deccan have suffered so much from continual wars and this will assist their recovery.

Saturday 5th January 1822

J Dent has been appointed Deputy Collector of Sea Customs at Madras.

Saturday 12th January 1822

The new journal John Bull in the East at Calcutta has a letter from Singapore dated 30th September:

The Bridgewater arrived here two weeks ago en route to China and left details of the House of Lords debates up to 25th April. The Dutch minister Baron Fagel asked the British ministry to give Singapore to the Netherlands. A committee reported to the Lords that Singapore has already become too important to surrender and an appropriate message was returned to Fagel for Amsterdam.

The Committee concluded that the opening of the China trade was doubtful and that Singapore (which has a vibrant coasting trade with China in Chinese junks) should be retained as an outlet for British manufactures. Our commercial treaties with the Malay states are also not scrupulously observed and the Chinese merchants of Singapore represent our best intermediaries to enter those markets.

Morgan, a Singapore merchant, came back from Bangkok in late October 1821 and reported that the Siamese King is receptive to more trade. The rice harvest this year could not be completely collected due to a cholera epidemic affecting the farmers but we nevertheless have five Thai junks in Singapore roads laden with sugar, salt and oil and the winter monsoon has only just set in.

The Borneo trade has been very good this year. Hardly any proas pass us for Malacca or Penang, they all enter this port. We have about 100 Celebes boats in the river all manned by Bugis people who monopolise the carrying trade of the islands.

Java is our second source of rice but has shipped less to us this year than formerly due to the same epidemic that affects the Thais.

Saturday 19th January 1822

The reinstated Provisional government at Goa has commenced publication of the weekly Goa Gazette on 22nd December. The first issue is devoted entirely to describing military measures to put down the constitutional Junta.

The army, under the direction of Brigadier de Mello, went to Panjim and arrested Joachim Manuel Correa da Silva e Gama, Manuel Duarte Leitao and Manuel Godinho de Mira, the three leading officials of the Junta. de Mello then led a delegation to the new Viceroy Manuel de Camara, who had just arrived from Rio, and proposed he form a provisional government in accordance with the Portuguese Constitution, to which he agreed.

The new Viceroy agreed his officials should be elected.

A similar arrangement is being adopted for the Portuguese enclave on Salsette.

All the power-holders met at Panjim and declared the Junta of 16th September had been extinguished. The new arrangements are not yet popular and are facilitated for the time-being only by military support. The new officials were elected on 3rd December and declared publicly on 8th December.

The Declaration professes equality for all under the law and invites citizens to write-in their proposals for better administration. It says the new officials are good people and seek only to govern with the support of the citizens and not just the army. All unconstitutional laws will be amended or abolished. Sovereign power will reside in a representative legislature. Salaries of civil servants will be equalised and paid on the scale adopted in Portugal.

Saturday 26th January 1822

The Company’s army operates a Military Bank at Calcutta. The 1820 accounts have just been presented to the depositors. New deposits for the year totalled 150,000 Rupees. Profits on investments were described as ‘satisfactory’.

Saturday 26th January 1822

Government Gazette, 3rd January:

The Company’s auction of salt at Calcutta was conducted over two days in December 1821 and produced average prices of 374 Rupees per Maund. A total of 700,000 Maunds was sold (262 million Rupees gross income). The prices were increased from previous sales due to extra demand (the Dutch government of Java has been unable to obtain adequate salt and has been importing from the India Company for several months). The salt market is entirely in the hands of Indian speculators and seems to operate uncontentiously.

Opium is different.

At the subsequent opium sales, native buyers bid-up the price of the first lot to 3,375 Rupees a picul. Most Westerners were caught unprepared for these exceptional prices. We had expected sales to be made at no more than 3,000 Rupees. It got worse. As new Lots were brought to sale, the prices rose to 4,405 Rupees and sold very briskly.

The new half-chests, which contain small cakes specifically for the China market, sold at better than proportionate prices. The results were:


Bihar usual cakes
Bihar small cakes
Benares usual cakes

946 chests
199 half chests
202 chests
Average Price 

4,131 Rupees
2,549 Rupees
4,407 Rupees

Total sales were worth 3,914,755 Rupees. Compare this with the average price per chest at the four previous auctions:

Dec 1819
Mar 1820
Dec 1820
Feb 1821
Bihar 1,999 Rupees
Bihar 2,025 Rupees
Bihar 2,455 Rupees
Bihar 2,548 Rupees
Benares 2,012 Rupees
Benares 2,058 Rupees
Benares 2,463 Rupees
Benares 2,493 Rupees

Half-chest prices exceed the price of full chests less than a year ago.[224]

Saturday 2nd February 1822

John Forbes, formerly of Bombay, died at Fitzroy Square London on 20th June aged 78 years. His Estate was at New Strathdon, Aberdeenshire.

Saturday 9th February 1822

Calcutta Journal, Notice 19th January – Editor Buckingham has been acquitted by the unanimous verdict of the Jury. He will now return to his usual occupation and apologises for the lack of preparation in his recent editions. He will publish an edited transcript of the evidence in his libel case shortly.

Saturday 9th February 1822

The ci-devant Viceroy of Portuguese territories in Asia, Conde de Rio Pardo, has been holidaying in Bombay. He left on HCS Vestal (Guy) to return to Goa on 4th February.

Saturday 9th February 1822

Penang 14th November – the Dutch have commenced to levy 8% import duty on all goods landed at their possessions. Opium is taxed at $100 per chest.

The Thais have launched an invasion of Kedah with 5,000 troops. Penang gets its rice supply from Kedah. This supply has been disrupted by the Thais burning and destroying whole villages and towns.

Saturday 16th February 1822

On 11th February Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy held a grand nautch in honour of his son’s wedding. Governor Elphinstone and CiC Bombay attended. The magnificence of the apartments used for the reception has rarely been equalled in Bombay. It was like a fabled palace in the Arabian Nights.

There was both Indian singing & dancing and a military band.

Saturday 16th February 1822

The Sultan of Palembang has been defeated by the Dutch in the common way. He had appointed the Rajah of Jambi to command the river batteries and that man was bought-over. When the Dutch fleet approached, the Rajah fired blanks which sounded grand but allowed the Dutch to land and over-run the batteries. The Sultan’s forces were disappointed and a good many went over to the Dutch.

The Sultan held out in the little fort with about 500 stalwart Malays but was eventually obliged to conclude a treaty abdicating the throne to his younger brother, the chap we also put on the throne in 1812. That gentleman had in fact accompanied the invading force from Batavia in expectation of this result.

The ex-Sultan was taken to Batavia and gaoled. The new Sultan has given the Dutch a monopoly of Palembang trade. He has permitted them to build a fort and collect the Customs.

Saturday 16th February 1822

The news from Bangkok is not good either. Crawfurd arrived there very hopefully but the King was enraged that our Penang government had granted sanctuary to the Sultan of Kedah. The Thais have attacked Kedah and the King supposes we are assisting his enemy. If we want the Thai trade, we may have to abandon the King of Kedah.

Saturday 16th February 1822

Calcutta Journal, 21st January – The evidence against Buckingham, the Editor of the Calcutta Journal, was that he published an anonymous reader’s letter to the effect “I am not attacking Governor-General Hastings (Moira) – he is a good man. He has never done anything for me but I expect nothing. Although I respect the Company’s civil service, petitions for redress of grievances and for improvement of procedures are ignored by senior civil servants unless made through the ‘old boy net.’ The Governor-General seems unaware of the extent to which the favour or displeasure of his senior civil servants affects members of the community.”

The Court was filled with European civil servants, military officers and British merchants to hear the case. The libelled ‘senior civil servants’ in October 1821 (date of the offence) were identified by the Prosecution as Lushington, Bailey, Swinton, MacKenzie, Princep and Colonel Casement, who were the six Secretaries of Departments at that time.

Holt MacKenzie was identified as Secretary of the Territorial Department by one witness (a Deputy Secretary). When cross-examined as to the nature of MacKenzie’s duties, he said it is all about money, producing a spontaneous burst of laughter from the audience. The same witness was asked by a Juryman whether he knew of any case of a proposal from the public being rejected by a Secretary. He did. It was suggested by the Defence that the government disliked the Press because it published matters that required government action. Witness agreed – it was inconvenient. The Jury retired briefly and returned a verdict of ‘not guilty’. The audience applauded loudly.

Saturday 23rd February 1822

Civil appointments, 21st February:

  • William Sprott Boyd is appointed 2nd Assistant to the Collector at Ahmednuggur.
  • Henry Frederick Dent to be 2nd Assistant to the Political Agent at Candeish

Saturday 9th March 1822

Letter from the Directors to Bombay government, 6th June 1821:

We approve your measure to obtain compliance with the instructions in our letter of 28th April 1819 concerning unlicensed Europeans residing in India (the registration of all arriving Europeans and Americans). Please send all unlicensed people to England.

Saturday 9th March 1822

John Bull in the East, Basra 25th November – The Ottoman Empire seems to be decaying. Persians encroach from the north and Arabs from the south.

Trade here has become very slow. We no longer send cargo boats up river to Baghdad. The Pasha there is at war with the Persian Prince of Kermanshah and trade has stopped.

The Bombay government has asked Calcutta if it may blockade Basra to induce the Pasha to perform his treaty with the Company.

We maintained an embargo on Turkish trade several months ago to obtain redress for an insult to Rich, our Basra Resident, and that was successful.

Saturday 23rd March 1822

Goa Gazette, 9th March – HMS Luconia has sailed from Goa to Rio de Janeiro. Passengers are the Count of Rio Pardo, Antonio Jose de Lima Leitao, Bernardo Peres da Silva, Constancio Roque da Costa, the Bishop of Cochin and Lt Colonel Joachim Pereira Marinho – i.e. the ex-Viceroy and his senior staff.

The Portuguese-registered coasting ship Conde de Rio Pardo (Angelo Antonio Fernandes) has been renamed Castro.

Saturday 23rd March 1822

The Company’s Post Office in India has established a telegraph system. It operates over all four of the great divisions that the Post Office covers.[225]

Saturday 30th March 1822

Hyderabad 1st January – William Currie has retired from the partnership of Wm Palmer & Co at Hyderabad.

Saturday 13th April 1822

Letter to the Editor, 28th March – The 1822 Army Calendar lists 137 Captains as serving in the infantry, cavalry, artillery and engineers in Bombay.

Today there are actually 29 Captains (21%) serving with their Corps in India and some of them are in temporary command of their battalions.

Sgd A Trooper[226]

Saturday 13th April 1822

A fire commenced at Rustompura suburb of Surat on 2nd April and by the following day 2,000 houses had been destroyed and about 7,000 cotton weavers made homeless. The loss of property is estimated at 500,000 Rupees.

Saturday 13th April 1822

Appointments – L Magniac was made Collector of Ramghur on 15th March

Saturday 20th April 1822

The 2nd session of the Bombay Recorder’s Court commenced on 13th April with William Jardine once again amongst the Grand Jurors.

Saturday 27th April 1822

The Directors, in their dispatch to Calcutta of 30th June 1819, notified a new rule granting brevet rank of Captain to those Lieutenants in the Company’s service who have attained 15 years service.

Saturday 27th April 1822

Calcutta Journal, 3rd April – A letter from Penang of 15th March reports recent news at that island:

The Thais still occupy Kedah and the Rajah remains here under our protection. The Thais have fitted-out 20 fast sailing junks of the Chinese type and are cruising against the Pegu ships that come to us for trade. M/s Marsden and Light have both remonstrated and asked them to stay north of 7º N (the Thai/Kedah border) but there may be a benefit in permitting Thai dominion in the Malay states – we ourselves have always found the Malays difficult to trade with.

The remaining independent Malay states are now Perak, Selangor, Terengganu, Pahang and Kelantan. It is rumoured in Penang that the Portuguese factory at Bangkok instigated the Thai invasion of Kedah, telling the King that if he did not conquer the Malay states quickly, the British or Dutch would do so, and he would lose his opportunity.

The strength of Thailand has recovered from its conquest by the Burmese in 1760 and has greatly increased. It is fortunate we obtained the gift of Penang from the late Rajah of Kedah before the Thais were strong enough to oppose it. Today they can send 50,000 men into the Malay states whenever they wish.

Saturday 18th May 1822

The dispute between the Ottoman Pashas of Mesopotamia and the Company’s Residents is settled. The Residencies will shortly reopen for business as usual.

Saturday 18th May 1822

India Gazette, 22nd April – A telegraph is being established between Bombay and Chunar via Rewar and along the course of the Nerbudda River. It will involve stations on hills at about 10 miles apart. So far as possible it will follow the course of the military roads.

Each signalling station looks like a martello tower of two storeys and about 30+ feet high. Each is operated by a Tindal and five lascars. The signal is made by four large balls but that system is being replaced by four 6 ft squares.

It is expected that, with trained operators, a signal can be sent 100 miles in 12 minutes. The receipt of news at Chunar from Fort William will take about 50 minutes. In clear weather the system works admirably. In winter the air is misty and observations uncertain.

Saturday 25th May 1822

The Teignmouth has arrived at Bombay from Aceh bringing Mohamed John, the son of the Sultan of Aceh, and his two servants.

Saturday 1st June 1822

On 26th May the judges of the Supreme Court of Goa – Correa, Loureiro, Magalhinas, Rocha and Abreo – landed at Bombay having been expelled from Goa. Three of them were only installed by the new Constitutional government in September. They say the archbishop and General Godinho were also expelled whilst about one hundred priests and merchants had been imprisoned.

The reasons for the upheaval are unknown.

Saturday 1st June 1822

Bengal Hurkaru, 8th May – A force of some 6,000 Thais have invaded and occupied the Burmese island of Junk Ceylon (Phuket). They have many small armed ships. They are said to be supported by a Chinese force which has caused the Burmese King to remove all the Chinese merchants at Rangoon and take them to Ava. The Governor of Rangoon is assembling an army of similar size to confront the Thais should they proceed further.

This is of consequence to our Burma trade which is primarily timber for ship-building and house construction. Burma is a country in which we have no representation although the value of British property there deserves protection. On a previous incursion at Martaban we had to sink our ships in the Syrian river to prevent the invading force from landing.

Saturday 15th June 1822

The House of Commons has considered the cost efficiency of Haileybury and Addington, the academic and military schools of the Company.

Between its foundation in 1805 and 1820, the academic school cost £247,000 and provided 498 employees to India and China (£496 per man); the military school from its foundation in 1808 to 1821 cost £137,000 and produced 335 cadets £409 per man).

Saturday 22nd June 1822

The Marquis of Hastings (Moira) has resigned the Governor-General’s job. He will return to London in October 1822.

Saturday 22nd June 1822

‘Walking Stewart’ has died at his apartments in Northumberland Street, Strand. He was a Charterhouse boy and was employed by the Madras Presidency as a writer where he was made Secretary to the Nabob of Arcot. He organised and funded the Nabob’s lavish entertainments. He returned to England during the French Revolution and invested his capital in the French funds. These investments depreciated and he went to America to support himself as a teacher of moral philosophy. This was not remunerative either and he returned to London and maintained himself on £100 a year that derived from his only productive investment (with Coutts).

When the Nabob’s affairs were ultimately settled, he received many thousands of Pounds, part of which he invested in an annuity providing £600 a year. He applied the income from this money to entertaining friends and acquaintances every evening for dinner. He travelled widely, published some philosophical books and expressed a delightful and benevolent persona. He earned his name from his travels, always preferring to walk rather than ride.

Saturday 29th June 1822

Notice – A weekly newspaper in Gujerati called Bombay na Summachar will be published commencing 1st July. The cost is 2 Rupees per month or 6 Rupees per quarter. It is patronised by the Nabob of Surat, Mir Usulodin Khan, and a large number of Parsees.

Saturday 29th June 1822

Bengal Hurkaru, 3rd June – The freight rates to London have improved from $4-5 a ton which has been common for a year to £5-9 in recent weeks, but still the ships themselves are unrealistically cheap.

Last week the Victory, 676 tons, built at Chittagong in 1816 was sold at auction to Captain Crisp for 26,000 Sicca Rupees. She came to market as the result of a dispute between the owner and his Agents. The Victory was last sold 18 months ago for 56,000 Rupees. Shortly after that sale the successful buyer was asked to sell again for 80,000 Rupees but refused the offer. She has just come out of Kyd’s dock where repairs and improvements costing 40,000 Rupees have been done. She is too big for coasting or the trade to the S E Asian islands but she is perfect for Europe or China.

Saturday 6th July 1822

Lt Colonel John Stuart Jardine of the Bombay army died 8th January after 25 years residence in India most of which was spent in actual service. Probate is handled by the Recorder of Bombay, James Henry Crawford.

Saturday 13th July 1822

Calcutta Journal, 14th June – there is a tribe occupying the interior of Sumatra between Bencoolen and Palembang who conform themselves to a strict version of Islam. We call them Padries. They enforce their religious practices on all the people who pass through their lands and have frequently stopped our commerce from Bencoolen by attacking our northern trading posts at Nattal and Ayer Bowey. This has necessitated the sending of occasional detachments of troops.

The residents of Bencoolen call it ‘the Padry Wars’.

Since their recent re-occupation of Palembang, the Dutch have received the attention of the Padries. They used a tactic of putting their women and children in front of their army to receive the first onslaught. The Dutch were unimpressed and bayoneted 121 women, most with an infant in her arms.

When this tactic failed, the Dutch received a defector calling himself Senon who offered to help them obtain a convincing victory over the Padries. The Dutch had no means of checking his genuineness and they were doubtful. They took him to the interior and, before a crowd of villagers there, cut off his beard. That was apparently a popular act and won the repeated approbation of the crowd. Thus encouraged, they cut off his head and tumultuous applause followed. They then embalmed the head and sent it down to Padang where it graced the top of a sharp pole in the market place for several weeks.

Saturday 27th July 1822

Goa Gazette, 29th June – The provisional Junta has permitted several high-ranking persons to retire. Their removal is due to the violent troops at Panjim who have demanded it of their officers.

Saturday 27th July 1822

Calcutta Gazette, 30th March – A Burmese army has entered Thailand from Serim and is marching on Bangkok.

Saturday 27th July 1822

Singapore is growing. The soil is far better than Penang and plantations are springing-up all over the island. Its geographical location assures its future prosperity.

Contrarily, Penang and China are commercially lifeless. All the Company’s cotton on the James Scott, Almora and Susan was sold in Canton at 7 Taels 5 Mace per picul.

Saturday 27th July 1822

Died 23rd May at Diggah Farm, Patna – Samuel Greenway, the former Proprietor of the Bengal Hurkaru Library and Press, a man of many virtues. His only failing was an excessive benevolence that exceeded his means. Hickey was the Founder of the Calcutta press; Greenway was its Father.

Saturday 27th July 1822

Creevey MP has made some unflattering remarks about the Board of Control. It was intended by Pitt that the Board’s officers would have no salaries but this fell into abeyance and the Company was squeezed to provide £26,500 a year in perquisites to government appointees on the Board.

The junior Commissioners were notorious for their uselessness but three of those jobs were obtained by the Grenville family which now controls the entire Board. Creevey wondered what instructions they would give to Canning (laughter) – Canning is presently expected to succeed Hastings as Governor-General.

Creevey recalled some years previously he had himself been Secretary to the Board for 13 months. Minto, Thomas Grenville and Tierney were then Commissioners but during his service he never saw any of them. As the Secretary, he felt sure that, if there was a Board, he would have seen it. He had asked another employee of the Board and learned that no Board actually existed (loud laughter).

As Secretary he supposed he would review dispatches to India but actually he never saw one (cheers). It seems the India Company buys MPs like it buys chests of tea, he said.

Tierney said as President of the Board he had been kept busy but he agreed the three other Commissioners were superfluous. All the paperwork is done at India House and is so precisely drafted that little work was necessary but it was incumbent on the President to read what he signed and that created a job. Tierney thought a great saving might be had by transferring the functions of the Board of Control to the Colonial Department.

Saturday 17th August 1822

The Company’s Chairman and Deputy Chairman for 1822 are James Pattison and the ship owner William Wigram. The six new Directors elected by rotation are William Astell, Charles Grant, Campbell Marjoribanks, Charles Elton Prescott, George Smith and Sweeney Toone.

Saturday 17th August 1822

Canning is named as the next Governor-General and is expected to leave England in May 1822 on HMS Active (King). He will bring the Liverpudlian J Backhouse as his Secretary.[227] Hastings plans to leave India in October.

Canning expects to get a peerage (as Lord Lymington) to go with the job. He has arranged the transfer of his parliamentary seat to a friend.

The Company Directors liked his tenure at the Board of Control while the Ministry finds him too clever and would prefer to have him out of the way, so there is a broad consensus for his appointment.

Saturday 17th August 1822

Sidmouth established the Table of Precedence in India. Ladies are supposed to take rank according to their husband’s awards. However ladies having rank in England take precedence over the equivalent Indian rank except for wives of Council members at each Presidency. This will create difficulties.[228]

Saturday 17th August 1822

London Gazette, 11th March – Lt General Sir Thomas Hislop KGCB is eulogised after 44 years of diligent military service, but most particularly, for his command of the Army of the Deccan in 1817 / 1818 during which time he engaged and defeated the army of Holkar in Malwa and forced that Maharajah to sue for peace and concede a treaty that is ‘most advantageous to the Company’ (later amended to read ‘favourable to His Majesty’s interests in the East’).

The General has the King’s Licence to place above the Hislop family arms a device showing the British lion tearing Holkar’s standard with the word Mahidpore (the town near the decisive battlefield) beneath it.

Saturday 24th August 1822

The Portuguese ship Castro arrived Singapore from Damaun on 25th June and will leave for Macau on 1st July.[229]

Saturday 24th August 1822

Theodore Hook, late Treasurer of Mauritius, is accused by the Company’s Audit Department of failing to account for £12,885 of Mauritian revenue. They suggest the money be extracted from him.

Hook says he is a nice chap and trusted some undeserving rogue. He should not be penalised.

Saturday 31st August 1822

Bengal Hurkaru 2nd August – Letter from Rungpore 20th July:

The Burmese army has not pressed its attack into the Company’s domains and has contented itself with the occupation of Assam. We are nevertheless inconvenienced by sporadic Burmese raids on our villages.

We apprised Menghee Maha Theluah, the Burmese commander in Assam and now the Rajah of the province, of these attacks and he routinely returned the villagers who have been taken-off as prisoners together with their property. We believe he also punishes the attackers which suggests he does not wish to antagonise us.

The only threat to future stability is the large numbers of Assamese refugees in Company lands who might attempt to recover their former land-holdings. To ward against this, we have instituted regular patrols of the areas occupied by the refugees. We seek for and confiscate any military stores.

Saturday 7th September 1822

John Bull in the East – In 1800 the Police Committee of Calcutta reported the population of the city, excluding the suburbs, at 500,000 and in 1814 a second estimate, reportedly based on the first, put the population at 700,000.

Recently four assessors were employed to ensure the Rates have been properly assessed and this provided an opportunity to better estimate the present population. The population of the city appears to be:


This has caused shock. Either the Assessors are not reporting all the assessable property or the previous estimates were absurdly over-stated.

Calcutta from the Maratha ditch in the north to Chowringee circular road in the south is about 4½ miles. The average breadth of the city is 1½ miles. By considering the districts within the city and estimating their likely populations, is seems the Rates Assessors are correct.

The impression of masses of people in Calcutta most likely derives from the artisans, labourers and sircars who come in daily for work. The people coming and leaving daily by ferries is 100,000. We think the total population, including this commuting workforce, is about 300,000.

Saturday 7th September 1822

Buckingham, the pioneer of press freedom in Calcutta, has drawn attention to the multiplicity of official jobs that Jameson holds. Jameson protested, Buckingham told him to ‘go away’ and Jameson said, in the absence of Buckingham’s agreement not to publish his name in the paper, he must challenge Buckingham to a duel.

Buckingham appointed his friend Major Swiney as second and sought for Jameson’s instructions. The men fired two shots at each other from 12 paces without injury. The dispute was then compromised.

Saturday 21st September 1822

Bombay, 18th September – Forbes & Co announce the admission of George Forbes to the Bombay partnership effective 1st August 1822.

Saturday 21st September 1822

East India House, 30th May – A shareholders’ EGM was held yesterday to vote thanks to Lord Hastings (Moira) for his 9-year administration. A letter has just been received from him indicating the surplus revenue at Calcutta is 1.5 million Rupees a year. The increased financial returns from India have now collectively reduced the Company’s interest payments in London by £1 million a year.

This is the third time the shareholders have voted their thanks to Hastings. He was also thanked for defeating the Nepalese and later the Marathas in the Pindari War.

Saturday 28th September 1822

The frigate HMS Orlando (36) and the brig HMS Challenger (18) are for sale by auction at the Naval Yard, Trincomalee. 5% deposit required on successful purchase.

Saturday 28th September 1822

Kishan Pall died at Serampore on 22nd August. He was the first Hindu to become a Christian having been baptised in the Ganges by Archbishop Carey in 1800.

On 2nd June at Malacca died Dr Milne, the co-founder (with Morrison) of the Indo-Chinese College at that town. He was 87 years old and leaves four young orphan adoptees, the eldest about 9 years.

Saturday 28th September 1822

The London Times, 27th March – the son of the King of Delhi has arrived in London with two concubines and is staying in the Plough Tavern until his arrival is acknowledged by the government.

Saturday 5th October 1822

On 29th September Ruttonjee Bomanjee Wadia has died, aged 58 years. He leaves one surviving brother – Hormuzjee Bomanjee Wadia, the principal Parsee merchant of Bombay, and elder brother of the great ship builder Jamsetjee Bomanjee who died last August.

Saturday 19th October 1822

Hindu, Muslim and Parsee convicts are usually sentenced by the Bombay Recorder’s Court to transportation varying from 3 years to life. The destination for the last many years has invariably been Penang.

Saturday 19th October 1822

Notice, 12th September – L Magniac has been appointed Collector at Dacca.

Saturday 19th October 1822

Calcutta Journal, 20th September – The Editor’s correspondent at Bangkok has sent a few letters dated between April – June 1822 concerning the state of trade at that port and the prospects of Crawfurd’s mission to the Thai King.

The ambassador’s ship was on the large size and ballast had to be thrown overboard to cross the bar of the Chao Phraya. The maximum draft to enter the river is 12 feet. The Embassy first stopped at Pak Nam (Pakenham in English texts), about 4 miles upstream of the bar, where they were liberally supplied with fruit and allowed the honour of retaining the ship’s guns which should be routinely deposited at this town.

Bangkok is a cosmopolitan city – there are large communities of Fukienese, Laotians, Cambodians, Peguese as well as native Thais. The river is covered with small boats of about 50 different designs, representing all the maritime trading countries of Asia. Both river banks are lined with houseboats. The people are Buddhist and a vast army of saffron-robed monks lives in Bangkok and depends exclusively on the alms of the people. We saw very little evidence of sickness.

Crawfurd had an interview with the King on 8th April. The wealth of Thailand is derived from the unusually fertile soil of the country. This, together with a comprehensive system of inland waterways, has enabled the country to grow and market far more produce than it needs. The major trading partner of Thailand is China and an estimated 30,000 – 40,000 tons of shipping is employed annually on voyages to Fukien and Chekiang alone.

Only the Chinese enjoy free trade at Bangkok; every other nation is inconvenienced in any of numerous ways, not all of them regulatory. A 350 ton ship will pay no more than $1,200 for all port charges; the duty on imports is 8%; bullion and gold / silver coin may be exported duty free and many other items are duty-free too. Sugar exports pay 1½ ticals per Picul.

Crawfurd obtained an engagement from the government to hold firm these existing charges for British trade. We are unsure how reliable that undertaking is. Whilst those charges are known, there are infinite ways in which additional charges can be added and the Thais are said to be masters of the art.

At its simplest, whilst the King says trade is free, he might from time to time as circumstances dictate, direct his merchants to buy nothing from an arriving ship. One is left in the uncomfortable position of having a ship-load of goods, all available to the market duty-free, and no-one willing to buy. In this way, it is said, the King’s merchants are enabled to buy imports at more moderate prices without competition.

Amongst the principal exports of Bangkok are sapan wood (300,000 piculs a year), pepper, cardamoms, sugar and gamboge. The Chinese buy up most of this as well as some exotic products – dried shark fins, dried birds nests, beche-de-mer, 200,000 assorted hides a year, a variety of animal parts (rhinoceros horn, elephant tusk, tiger penis, deer horn and the horns & gall-stones of buffalo). The greatest export staples are rice and salt. All the European factories of East Asia are supplied with Thai rice. There is also a valuable export trade in gum benjamin, agil-wood and stic-lac. Metal exports are mainly lead, iron and tin with a small amount of copper, gold and silver.

The imports in demand which we can supply are arms and ammunition, hardware, glassware and some of the lighter weights of cotton cloth. About 250 chests of opium are smuggled-in annually from Penang and Singapore and sell readily to the Customs Officers who monopolise internal distribution.

Crawfurd estimates, if Britain can get the same trading terms as the Chinese, we could employ annually 20 – 30 ships of 200-300 tons at Bangkok. The Americans export mainly sugar from Bangkok, about 3-4 ship-loads annually. They buy for silver dollars which makes them popular everywhere. Last year one American brought a consignment of old muskets and exchanged them for a picul of sugar each. All the local people are acquisitive, right up to the King and his Ministers who might be considered as the leading merchants. It is said the King attends more closely to his commercial interests than to any other affairs in his Kingdom.

The Company will need to interfere decisively in Thailand in order to assure appropriate trade conditions. In this respect Bangkok is indefensible militarily. There are no fortifications at the river mouth or any other point up the river. Our smallest gunboat could sail up and bombard the King’s palace with impunity. The people are not militant and appear to always prefer compromise to confrontation. It may be cowardice as we saw Burmese prisoners employed on public works in appalling conditions – cruelty and cowardice usually go together. These prisoners are obtained from the Burmese frontier where a military force is deployed precisely to capture any Burmese straying across the border and enslave them in the Thai King’s service.

Crawfurd’s mission left Thailand in July and will visit Cochin China before returning to Calcutta.

Wednesday 6th November 1822 Extraordinary

Notice – the Bombay government requires tonnage. Particulars at the Marine Superintendent’s Office. Submit bids before 11th November.

Saturday 9th November 1822

Mozambique, 13th September – the ex-Viceroy of Goa, Conde de Rio Pardo, has arrived here after failing to sail round the Cape in the Luconia on his way to Lisbon. He will try again later after repairing the heavy weather damage.

Saturday 9th November 1822

The Portuguese frigate St Joao Magnanime arrived Goa on 17th October from Lisbon via Bahia. She brings instructions in response to the revolution last year that displaced the Conde de Rio Pardo as Viceroy. The Conde’s replacement from Lisbon, by appointment of the King, is Dom Manoel de Camara.

He is ordered to remain as temporary Viceroy until Lisbon’s policy for all its Asiatic possessions has been settled. As a result of the order from the King and Cortes, the three members of the provisional Junta of Goa have resigned and de Camara, who was President of the Junta, now restyles himself as Viceroy. He has retained the services of several members of the Junta in his government.


The Saturday 7th December 1822 edition contains a list of clerks employed in the Office of the Chief Secretary of the Presidency who have donated to charity. The next edition has similar lists of clerks in the Military Auditor General’s Office and the Adjutant General’s Office.

The three lists are included here to illustrate the numbers and nationalities of clerks in the Bombay Presidency’s offices:


Chief Secretary

Auditor General

Adjutant General

















Saturday 7th December 1822

House of Commons, 5th July – The House today resolved itself into a Committee of Supply on the Army Estimates (Extraordinaries).

In the course of the debate it transpired that the British government employs diplomatic Agents at the Cape, Mauritius and Ceylon and pays for them out of British revenue.[230] It was suggested they be paid from the revenues of the colonies to which they were appointed.

There are no other British diplomatic Agents in Asia.

Saturday 21st December 1822

Notice, 20th December – the Company will sell 1,500 chests of 1821 / 22 Malwa opium on 3rd March 1823 in Bombay. Each chest contains an allowance and the actual nett weight of raw opium is 140 lbs. A deposit of 10% in money or government securities is required within five days of each successful bid; the balance of purchase price within two months of sale. Opium to be removed from the government warehouse within two months of purchase. Warranties and chemist’s certificates may be viewed after 1st March at the Opium Agent’s Office.

Saturday 21st December 1822

Bombay Notice 18th December – Henry Huguenin, John Narbel and Anthony Martelli, Swiss watch-makers, have opened a shop here for the repair of all sorts of clockwork.

Saturday 18th January 1823

Notice 13th January – Surgeon John Hine retired from the Company’s service on 27th September 1821

Saturday 18th January 1823

Letters from Singapore report that as soon as Crawfurd’s mission to Bangkok left that town, the King chained and imprisoned the captain and supercargo of an English ship. It appears the mission may have been unsuccessful.

The same letters report a Dutch expedition arrived at Johore and confiscated the Sultan’s regalia.[231]

Saturday 25th January 1823

Commencing this issue, a new un-named Editor has assumed the conduct of the paper. He has removed the advertisements that formerly covered the front page to the inside and replaced them with editorial items and government notices. No other change is apparent.

Saturday 22nd February 1823

Notice – a list of salutes to be made to visiting dignitaries is published. 19 guns for a Governor; 17 guns for Generals and Admirals; 13 guns for Judges; 11 guns for Political Residents, etc.

Saturday 22nd February 1823

Canning was expected to become the next Governor-General but Castlereagh’s suicide has unexpectedly made an opening at the Foreign Office that he hankers after. George IV does not want him as Foreign Secretary but Lord Liverpool has insisted.[232]

Saturday 1st March 1823

Bank of Bengal rates, 30th January 1823:

Discount on private Bills 

Discount on Company Bills

Interest on loans on deposit




Saturday 1st March 1823

The Chinese settlers at Penang have presented an Address to J J Erskine, the 2nd Governor of the island, on the occasion of his departure on 22nd March 1822 after a residence of 17 years. Publication has been delayed by the need to send the address to Morrison at Macau for translation:

‘Erskine has been pure and just, enlightened and diligent, honest and gracious. For over 10 years he has improved the public morals. In times of scarcity he has kept the price of grain low. Many of us have come here in response to his fame. We have no means to compel him to stay and can only submit this note of our feelings.’

Sgd Beng and 24 other ‘children of Erskine’

A 2nd address in similar terms was also presented from Leong Me Keat, Leong Tsan Yuen, Tsang Pat Lin and many other Chinese farmers.

(the Romanisation of names suggests the Chinese community at Penang is in Fukienese and Cantonese groups, hence two Addresses)

Saturday 8th March 1823

Buckingham, the Editor of the Calcutta Journal, was ordered by Hastings (Moira), before he himself left, to leave India in two months i.e. before 15th April 1823. John Adams, the provisional Acting Governor-General signed the Order. It is a simple revocation of the licence that every foreigner requires to reside in India. The professed reason for the expulsion was Buckingham’s ridicule of the Governor-General for appointing Rev Bryce of the Scottish Church at Calcutta to the office of Secretary of the Committee monitoring the price the Company pays for stationery (the Scottish Church does not restrict its British clergy from indulging in commercial activities).

Buckingham has sought for a judicial ruling. He says he was granted the licence in London and established himself and his family at Calcutta with the intention of residing for 6-7 years. He started the Calcutta Journal to provide an income for his support. His investment in India totalled 200,000 Rupees. He says the unilateral cancellation of his residency licence by the Governor-General was done with the intention of injuring him. The Court bound-over him in 12,000 Rupees to pursue his claim in England.

Buckingham has also questioned the unwillingness of the Company’s government to employ experienced barristers as provisional Judges when vacancies occur.

Here in Bombay, since the Recorder’s Court was established in 1798, we have had three Judges die in harness and in each case Bombay was left for weeks and months without a forum for the resolution of disputes (Judge Woodhouse, the present Recorder of Bombay, has also just died). Now in Calcutta, the recent death of another judge has left only Sir Francis MacNaughten, the Chief Justice, to try cases in that forum. Its causing delay.

The good news for residents in the Presidencies is that the Judiciary has removed army officers from Grand Juries. A year ago the Jury had up to a third of its members from the Company’s armed forces. It will be recalled that the Ceylon Supreme Court acquitted a magistrate of killing a headman in his district by the expedient of packing the Grand Jury with his civil service colleagues – they found he had no case to answer (see the Ceylon chapter for details of this horrible case).

It is now the case that every Grand Jury appointed in Bombay and Calcutta has mainly merchants on it. There is a criticism of the Bombay Recorder’s Court in the newspaper – a letter alleging that the richer merchants never get called for Jury duty. A list of names is attached and no response from them was published.[233]

Saturday 8th March 1823

Calcutta Gazette – information is being received faster than hitherto due to the Post Master General’s use of transit telegraphs.

Letters from Calcutta to Bombay, a distance of 1,300 miles, now take about two weeks for delivery by dawk. A further improvement is expected when the military road is completed between Calcutta and Sambulpore and between Raipore and Nagpore.

Saturday 15th March 1823

There are reportedly two contenders for the Governor-General’s job.

Canning has persuaded Lord William Bentinck to take it up. They are connected through Bentinck’s brother, the Duke of Portland, who married the elder Ms Scott whilst Canning married the younger.

William Bentinck’s reputation briefly suffered through the breach of good faith to the Genoese and other Italians immediately after the war with France but that policy was forced upon him by Castlereagh’s unprincipled dispatches from Vienna.

The other name is Lord Amherst, our former ambassador to China.

That Canning should prefer the Foreign Secretary’s job on £6,000 a year to the Governor-General’s job shows that income is of no concern to him and has produced a deal of consequent admiration.

Saturday 29th March 1823

The Wahhabis have attacked the annual hajj caravan that crosses the desert to Mecca and Medina and have reportedly killed 10,000 Turks.

Saturday 29th March 1823

Although Canning ordered the freedom of the press whilst President of the Board of Control, the Company has maintained many of its restrictive regulations, inter alia a legislative proscription on publishing an opinion on any of the acts of government.

The late Editor of the Calcutta Journal, Buckingham, knew this very well. He knows all the restrictions on press freedom. Nevertheless, he commented on the appointment of Rev Bryce to a government sinecure.

As a result he was peremptorily expelled from India by order of Moira (Hastings). Effectively Buckingham has martyred himself for the freedom of the press. Now he has commenced an action in the Calcutta Supreme Court over the legality of Hastings’ Order. It should ensure the circulation of Calcutta Journal is increased. Had he not done so, the newspaper would unlikely have long survived his own departure and he invested much capital in it.

Saturday 29th March 1823

John Farquhar, a recently retired Nabob, has bought Fonthill Abbey for £300,000+ as his country Estate, and a house in Portland Place as his town-house. The Abbey formerly belonged to William Beckworth, an owner of West Indian estates.

Farquhar is from Aberdeen. He went to India as a Doctor. He perfected a way of manufacturing gunpowder that produced a more powerful explosion and this won for him a contract with the Company from which his great fortune is derived. He was close to Warren Hastings.

He returned from India with about £½ million and Coutts put the bulk of it in the 3% consols when they were at 55. He affects the appearance and demeanour of a poor man but his wealth was known to a few bankers who persuaded him to invest in Agency business – Basset Farquhar & Co – and to buy Whitbread’s shares in his brewery when that man passed away.

Whilst in India he became an admirer of the Brahmin view of reality. He is now about 65 years old, a small and unimpressive man, and it is a strange thing that he should want to own such a demanding Estate as the Abbey. His current assets are supposed to approximate £1½ millions.

Saturday 5th April 1823

Bengal Hurkaru, 18th March – The Governor-General has prepared a Rule, Ordinance and Regulation concerning the operation of newspapers in India and has presented it to the Chief Justice apparently relative to Buckingham’s Writ. Buckingham’s Counsel told the Judge he did not know how to proceed. Chief Justice MacNaughten suggested he ask the government to withdraw the Rule. He then agreed to postpone the hearing for two weeks to allow the Advocate General to make submissions.

The government position is that no-one may publish anything critical of the administration without the government’s prior approval. It appears to make Canning’s promise of a free press nonsensical. The Rule has been prepared by the Council. The history of the freedom of the press is laid out in this article. It is also adduced that when the Company first received the administration of Indian territory (at Bombay) it was obliged to conform its laws to British laws although the term has been omitted from recent Charters.

In the hearing of the dispute at Calcutta, MacNaughten concluded that the form of the Company’s government is incompatible with a free press. If Buckingham is indulged, every native must be indulged and the Company’s style of government must fail, he thought. As regards Buckingham’s lost property (his investment in the newspaper), the Judge permitted its sale and required the Company to permit a transfer of licence. Buckingham is to consider his property as not lost but merely temporarily frozen, pending for sale.

Saturday 19th April 1823

Lord Amherst is confirmed as the next Governor-General of India.

Saturday 3rd May 1823

The Bombay Life Assurance Company has a simply formula for assessing premiums. If the life assured is 30 years old its 3%; 40 years old its 4% all the way up to 100 years old at 10%. For younger people the rates are much higher. The policies are valid for a year and are renewable at insurer’s option on renewed evidence of continuing good health.

Saturday 17th May 1823

Calcutta editorial – Getting to the N E states bordering on Burma is difficult every year during the months of January to May when the rivers are too shallow. We need to dredge a channel and keep it clear.

This is an ideal project for the British community as we have so much capital unemployed at present and a new canal would benefit the community generally. It should not be left to government.

Saturday 31st May 1823

London 31st December – James Smith has retired from M/s Smith Inglis & Co, East India agents of Mansion House Place.

In consequence of this and the death of John Forbes Mitchell, Michie Forbes, late of Forbes & Co of Bombay, has been admitted to the partnership on 1st January 1823 which will in future be called Inglis Forbes & Co.

Sgd by the continuing partners David Inglis, Wm Bridgman, W H Leith and Wm Bridgman Jr. (plus the new partner Michie Forbes)

Saturday 31st May 1823

East India House, 18th December – The quarterly Directors’ Meeting produced a complaint against the Royal Navy. Naval officers continue to press seamen out of Indiamen although there are plenty of seamen in the ports – they prefer our trained and disciplined men.

Saturday 7th June 1823

Bengal Hurkaru 14th May – Colonel Farquhar, the Resident of Singapore, was injured on 11th March by an escaped Malay prisoner using a kris. The assailant was quickly bayoneted by sepoys.

By a unique legal proceeding of Sir Stamford Raffles’ own devising, and known only in Singapore, the body was tried the next day in court, found guilty, and sentenced to be hanged in chains.

Saturday 5th July 1823

The Company has assisted the expelled members of the Goa government to state their case to Lisbon via the Portuguese ambassador to the Court of St James in London.

They are Manoel Joze Gomes Loureiro, Joaquim Manoel Correa da Silva e Gama, Gonsalo de Magalhaeno Pereira Pinto, Antonio Monterio da Rocha, Joao Maria d’Abriu Castilo Branes and Manoel Duarte Leitao.

The King supports them. He is displeased at the violent measures taken against them.

£3,000 has been paid to Forbes & Co for their maintenance in India. No mention of their reinstatement is made.

Saturday 19th July 1823

The Judge has opened the third Sessions of the Recorder’s Court with a comment on debtors. Bombay has a very large number of prisoners for debt. The longest serving debtor at present was first incarcerated on 4th July 1814 (9 years).

The Judge found he was powerless to offer a remedy, which lay with the Legislature, he said. The only insolvency act that applies to debtors in India is The Lord’s Act whereby they may be discharged on the creditor’s undertaking to pay them a weekly allowance.

Saturday 19th July 1823

The free-trader Euphrates (Meade) has arrived at Bombay from London bringing a group of soldiers, some missionaries and Lancelot Dent.

Saturday 19th July 1823

Bengal Hurkaru, 26th June – In 1822 Singapore traded over 130,000 tons of goods. She exported 1,400 tons of pepper, 1,000 tons of sugar and 13,500 piculs of tin. She imported $500,000 of Indian piecegoods and $250,000 of British piecegoods. The growth of this little entrepot is extraordinary.

Saturday 30th August 1823

Letter from ‘JC’ of the Hyderabad Residency dated 7th July:

The revenue settlement for these territories that we made with the Nizam has worked out well. The manifest prosperity of the country after eons of continuous war is pleasing. The only problem is the acts of the zemindars and patels who back-up their extortion of the farmers with torture.

A short while ago a farmer came to the residency with his ears and nose cut off, complaining of the patel of his village who had inflicted the punishment as the award for non-payment of his demands. We gave the farmer some money and sent him back with a detachment of troops who inflicted the same punishment on the patel.

We have suggested to Calcutta that AngloIndians be substituted for these middlemen.[234] That might ensure that both the Nizam and the Company get their agreed shares of the produce and the farmers are not overwhelmed with other demands.

Saturday 20th September 1823

The distinctions of rank are so well preserved in India as to make employment in Calcutta, our Indian capital, more lucrative than in Madras or Bombay.

Saturday 27th September 1823

Bengal Hurkaru, 5th September – The Governor-General has ordered the expulsion of Sandford Arnot, Assistant Editor of the Calcutta Journal. He was taken before the magistrates and told to provide securities for his departure.

Bayley, the Chief Secretary, wrote to the Judiciary requesting it. It appears Arnot is accused of living in India without a licence.

He is required to put-up 10,000 Rupees himself and find two supporters to go 5,000 Rupees each on his behalf. Arnot declined to put up the securities demanded and was arrested and gaoled pending his deportation.

Arnot’s real offence has not been publicly revealed but is supposed to relate to Buckingham’s published revelations concerning Bryce. Sandys, the Editor of Calcutta Journal, has not been prosecuted. Government sources say they could not remove both men without destroying the newspaper.

On 19th September Arnot obtained a hearing of his application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. The Chief Justice MacNaughten wished to release Arnot but his colleague Buller took the opposite view. MacNaughten nevertheless released Arnot.

Saturday 11th October 1823

All members of the Bombay Bar have jointly memorialised the Recorder’s Court about the Small Claims Court which permits solicitors to act as barristers. They say the Charter establishing the Recorder’s Court does not permit it.

The Judge described the memorial as libellous and suspended the practising certificates of all the barristers for six months. During that time solicitors may act as barristers in all cases before the Judge.

Saturday 8th November 1823

The correspondence on the new ‘science of political economy’ started by Malthus, Adam Smith, Ricardo and others continues to attract letters to the editor.

Saturday 22nd November 1823

Wm Palmer & Co of Hyderabad announces the resignations of shareholders Sir William Rumbold and George Lamb, wef 1st November 1823. (they are friends of Hastings (Moira) and will return to England)

Saturday 6th December 1823

John Bull in the East, 15th November – a long Letter to the Editor explaining the background to the confrontation with the Burmese along the Naaf River. The river forms the frontier between the Company’s lands and Burma. The Company’s troops occupied Shuparee Island in the river to prevent the Burmese doing so.

The island is a sandbank without water sources or permanent population. The Burmese protested our occupation and made several territorial threats against us. We consequently reinforced our troops to protect the frontier.

Saturday 27th December 1823

Surat cotton for the China market is selling at Bombay for 130 – 132 Rupees the candy.


That concludes the articles from Bombay Courier. The following articles were published in the Canton Register between 1827 – 1844 about Asian countries ex China.

The collapse of British India finance pursuant on the opium / silver dispute at Canton and (somewhat) the costs of the invasion of Afghanistan are mentioned below:


Vol 1 No 2 – 23rd November 1827

The Singapore Chronicle reports that the Company has forbidden its employees at Penang, Malacca and Singapore to talk with the Press. This instruction is already observed within the three Indian presidencies.

Press censorship occurs from time to time in India – the most recent example was Buckingham’s Calcutta Journal which had attained a considerable circulation We are fortunate not to come under the control of the Company here (Canton) and will report on India as we see fit. We will not publish any scandalous information because there is no legal redress available here.

Vol 1 No 3 – 30th November 1827

According to the Singapore Chronicle of 17th September, HMS Waterloo (74) has arrived at Batavia with 700 troops. Hostilities are suspended and peace negotiations commenced. A resident intercepted the peace proposals of the insurgents and withheld them. He was arrested by police.

Vol 1, No 4 – 14th December 1827

A letter from Singapore dated 5th October notes the Java war continues. The armistice failed and the General has gone to the eastern provinces where fighting is still occurring.

Vol 1 No 7 – Monday 11 February 1828

Sakhalin Island has no name on our Chinese map but is shown as an island with a smaller island in between it and the mainland. The Japanese say there is so little water between the island and the mainland that the strait can be forded at low tide. On the north bank of the Amur river mouth is a Manchu town called Tsetaleho to which the Japanese go for trade. They are gradually usurping the island to their own use. The Tartars at Tsetaleho come from Irkutsk and also sail to Japan to trade.

A ship dispatched north to Loo Choo, Japan and Tartary might also visit Sakhalin and bring back furs and metals for the Chinese market. It might also trade with Korea.

The Amur and the Sungari, which both debouche at the same place, open all of Siberia to our navigation.

Vol 1 No 10 – 8th March 1828

Manila news (per Milo just arrived) – In mid-February the Luzon Government issued an order forbidding foreigners from trading in the interior (which they call the provinces) and confining foreign trade to the city of Manila itself. This is to allow the Manila merchants to monopolise the trade by inserting themselves between producers and exporters. In fact foreign buyers have not hitherto gone into the interior to trade as goods are only brought together in marketable quantities after the usual time of our arrival at Manila each year.

There has been an increasing frequency of seismic activity of late. A large volcano that first emerged in 1818 has again become active since last June. It is about 180 miles from Manila but the ash reaches town.

No trade is occurring at present. The season is over and all foreign shipping has departed. Yesterday the French brig Telegraph, which brought 5,000 muskets for the government at $9.50 each CIF, left for Le Havre.

There is no produce in the market at present but the new sugar crop harvest is starting and is estimated to total 78,000 – 80,000 piculs this year. This is more than in former years and should reduce prices. Sales are being effected today at $5.75 – $5.875 per picul.

Vol 1 No 11 – Saturday 15th March 1828

Letter from Batavia, 15th January – The Dutch are losing control of eastern Java. The rebels have visited the north coast and occupied some settlements near Surabaya. They have burned the government shipyard at Bautier where three Government ships are under construction. A brig on the stocks at Dassoon has also been burnt. Available government troops are sickly and no reinforcements are expected.

Vol 1 No 12 – Saturday 22nd March 1828

News from the Straits:

  • The Singapore Chronicle reports the Dutch have interfered in the affairs of the Princes of Johore in a dispute over ownership of the Karimun Islands (situated in the middle of the Straits). The Dutch think their resident at Rhio (Riau) controls the islands. A Dutch schooner chased a trading prahu from Singapore to Kampar. Although the prahu hoisted a white flag and lowered her sails, the Dutch fired on her three times, killing the jerumoody and wounding one of the crew. The nacodah and remainder of the crew abandoned the prahu and made their way back to Singapore where they reported to the government which instantly sent a complaint to the Dutch Resident at Rhio.
  • The Malacca Observer reports a new gold mine at Mount Ophir. It is within the territory claimed by the Company at that port.
  • The Penang Register has commenced publication but is presently merely reciting extracts from English periodicals.

Vol 1 No 15 – Saturday 12th April 1828

Letter to the Editor – The Christian authorities at Malacca have proscribed religious comment in their press. They must have a reason. There are three religions there – native polytheism, Christianity and Islam.

Are the Christian authorities protecting their religion or are they protecting the pagans and Muslims. Or do they find religion so unimportant that the truth or falsehood of any religion is irrelevant.

Vol 1 No 15 – Saturday 12th April 1828

Straits News:

  • The boat’s crew that deserted from HCS Inglis at Singapore was captured by pirates and murdered except for Benjamin Sly who has just arrived at Penang.
  • HC Schooner Zephyr was attacked by 12 piratical prahu’s when approaching Penang

Vol 1 No 19 Saturday 10th May 1828

There is rioting all over Malaya, Sumatra and Java. At Surabaya, and at Grissee to the south, the Arab trading communities are removing to Madura. The Dutch seem to be doing poorly in their Javan war.

Vol 1 No 22 – Saturday 31st May 1828

Lord Amherst left Calcutta 8th March for England. He has resigned the office of Governor-General which is taken over by Wm Butterworth Bayley.

Vol 1 No 22 – Saturday 31st May 1828

Singapore census 1827 









NB – This is an increase of 1,100 (>7%) over the 1826 census. There are also 561 Company troops in garrison, 382 convicts and a large floating population.

Vol 1 No 30 – Saturday 9th August 1828

Manila report – The entire year’s sugar crop has been sold and partly shipped. Great demand has increased the price to refiners to $6 per picul. As a result several orders were finally abandoned.

Vol 1 No 30 – Saturday 9th August 1828

The King of Cochin China has sent an ambassador to Manila to arrange free trade between the two countries. The embassy was received cordially. We are pleased to see this evidence of developing universal fellowship which is the effect of commerce and which contributes to the civilisation of the world by connecting countries which would otherwise remain separate.

Vol 1 No 35 – Saturday 20th September 1828

Manila report – the sugar crop will be huge this year and prices are expected to fall to $5.00 – $5.25 per picul. Last year’s crop was 110,000 piculs of which 12,000 piculs was kept for domestic requirements and the remainder exported to Spain, France, India, Netherlands and America.

Vol 1 No 35 – Saturday 20th September 1828

Walter Henry Medhurst, the English missionary who is studying Japanese, asked Dutch permission to go to Japan on their sole annual ship from Batavia to Nagasaki but was refused.

Vol 1 No 38 – Monday 3rd November 1828

Manila reports say that two famous firms have closed due to financial difficulty.

Vol 1 No 38 – Monday 3rd November 1828

Rebellion against the Dutch continues in Java and no expectation of its end is in sight. The coffee crop has been attacked and the harvest is expected to be only half of last year.

Vol 1 No 39 – Saturday 15th November 1828

Regional trade news – The Sulu traders are expected to arrive at Manila soon with tortoise shell and mother of pearl. Cebu is to be opened for trade and opium will be sold there by the Spanish colonial government. It seems Spain is at last extending its influence from Manila to the neighbouring islands. The area has great potential for agriculture and commerce.

Dom Pascual Enrile has arrived at Manila to assume the governorship of the province. The Manila government has been greatly changed by the removal of all the American-born officials.

Vol 1 No 39 – Saturday 15th November 1828

The Registro Mercantil, the commercial newspaper of Manila, notes the arrival of the British Ship Madalena in October 1828 bring 612 cases containing 10,000 muskets for the government, machinery for making gunpowder and for mining iron, copper boilers for sugar refining, cotton spinning machinery and other British manufactures.

The paper also prints a letter from the Manila Governor to the Director of the Economical Society saying gin and brandy imports are proscribed until regulations for their sale have been settled.

Vol 2 No 1 – 3rd January 1829

Nagasaki – we have received a letter dated 18th October from Nagasaki via a Chinese junk which trades out of Nanking.

On 17 – 18th September the port of Nagasaki and the offshore island of Deshima (where the Dutch factory is located) were devastated by a typhoon. Many hundreds of people died. The Dutch ship Cornelius Hootman was thrown ashore and wrecked. None of the crew nor any members of the Dutch factory were hurt.

Vol 2 No 4 – Thursday 19th February 1829

Singapore has firmly established itself in local trade. It has become the entrepot for tortoise shell and mother-of-pearl from the Celebes and Moluccas. Formerly the Bugis people shipped these items on longer and more hazardous voyages to Manila and China.

Vol 2 No 5 – Monday 2nd March 1829

Manila Report – trifling disturbances have been adopted as pretext by the Spanish colonial government for oppression. They say the disturbances herald an insurrection. This is incorrect. The arrested men are nobodies.

The Registro Mercantil reports that a public bank is to be established as a joint-stock company at Manila. This will augment the productivity of the country.

The government, which now wishes to produce opium, also intends to develop cotton spinning and weaving and invites the introduction of machinery which will be free of import duty. It will financially assist people investing in dye production and cotton weaving. At present most clothing and piece goods are imported. A prize of $8,000 is offered to the first two farmers who establish coffee plantations of 60,000+ square feet. Similar prizes are offered for farming cocoa, cinnamon, tea and mulberry trees (for silk production).

Every farmer or farming association that produces 2,000 piculs or more of sugar or 100 or more quintals (100 kgs) of indigo will be exempted from land tax. Labourers with a record of working for over five years will be exempted from the poll tax. Those capitalists most involved in developing agriculture will be preferred for civil service vacancies.

Two existing investors, M/s L Calvo and Domingo Rojas, are granted a monopoly of iron and timber industry.

Vol 2 No 5 – Monday 2nd March 1829

Manila trade statistics for 1828:

Spanish imported goods $432,415 + treasure $35,000
Foreign imports $771,712 + treasure $357,827[235] 

(NB – US & UK trade together equals the Spanish volume)

Chinese imports $346,806 + treasure $9,000
Spanish exports $514,650 + treasure $2,400
Foreign Exports $775,186 + treasure $13,921
Chinese exports $185,198 + treasure $46,165

Main commodities exported in 1828 were – indigo 2,130 quintals, sugar 110,500 piculs, rice 70,000 piculs.

Manila Customs revenue $227,000

Vol 2 No 7 – Saturday 4th April 1829

The war in Batavia at end-January was continuing in a desultory manner. European soldiers have been continually moved around but many have become sick. It is feared there are barely sufficient troops to defend the place.

The Prince of Saxe Weimar might send 5,000 – 6,000 mercenaries but reinforcements from Holland are thought more likely.

The coffee crop this year will be about 400,000 piculs, indigo 1,000 piculs and sugar 60,000 – 70,000 piculs

Vol 2 No 13 – Thursday 2nd July 1829

Commodity Report:

Batavia – the coffee crop is nearly available; the sugar crop this year is huge and indigo is becoming an important export. The market for imported manufactures is at a standstill.

Manila – The previously reported huge sugar crop will actually be quite normal. Although the farmers were obliged to plant twice the number of canes, they allowed half to spoil as they had insufficient boilers for refining.

Vol 2 No 17 – Friday 18th September 1829

News from Thailand:

  • In August 1828 two missionaries, Tomlin and Gutzlaff, went to Bangkok to distribute Chinese-language bibles amongst the Chinese community. There are 310,000 Chinese in Bangkok. They pay a poll tax of $1 per annum (actually $3 triennially). The entire population of Bangkok is 401,300 people (i.e. 77% Chinese).
    Gutzlaff is also a medical doctor and provides free consultations and medicines to his converts. Bangkok residents and junk crews from Hainan, Canton and Fukien take his books and Gutzlaff is now engaged with a Chinese, who writes, reads and speaks Thai, in making Thai versions of his publications.
    The Thai government receives an almanac annually from the Chinese government. It is the main evidence of Thai vassalage. Chinese astronomy is better than Thai. The Thai King needs China to tell him when to plant his crops and hold his festivals.[236] 

    There are some Chinese in Thai government service. A 75 years old Chinese scholar provides translation services to the Thai King. He speaks Balinese and Thai as well as Chinese. The King has ordered him to translate Gutzlaff’s Christian books into Thai.
    Gutzlaff has been treating some opium addicts at Bangkok. He uses an emetic of tartar with laudanum which causes nausea and effects a cure. A Catholic bishop resides at Bangkok and there are about 800 Christians. Gutzlaff’s Christian books were initially represented to the King by his Chinese translator as political and were banned but many people demanded copies and the ban was soon rescinded.

  • Last January the King of Laos and his family (two wives, sons and grandsons, totally 14 people), who had just been captured by the Thai army, were exhibited in a cage to the Bangkok populace for a fortnight. A large boiler and various instruments of torture were arrayed nearby. Some comedies were enacted for the crowd’s amusement.
    The American Captain Coffin who was then in Bangkok spoke with the Laotian King who died soon afterwards before the victory proceedings began. His body was nevertheless decapitated and exhibited by the river where all could see it. Mr Tomlin visited the cage and saw nine inmates chained around their necks and legs. Two were very young children who appeared unaware of what was about to occur.

Vol 2 No 19 – Saturday 17th October 1829

Letter to the Editor from Manila – your report on the Spanish Government in Manila is misleading. When Chinese settlers were first permitted to live here they agreed to restrict themselves to agriculture and arts. The Chinese act concertedly and have much capital. Since then they have incrementally engrossed the entire trade of this colony, certainly the import of all European goods, to the detriment of Filipino traders. The poll tax was introduced to restore competition and the non-Chinese community welcomed this tax.

Had the Chinese confined themselves to arts and agriculture as agreed, and as they do at Singapore, Rhio and Java, they would not have brought this oppressive action upon themselves. Chinese immigrants are continually arriving at Manila and find immediate employment amongst their compatriots. After a few years service they are enabled to open a shop of their own – thus the community grows.

Young Spaniards and Filipinos would pursue trade if they could overcome the obstacle of Chinese combination. I doubt the tax amounts to more than $400,000 but it will be a welcome addition to government revenue.

I do not understand your reference to the native language of Manila. Filipinos have a different language in almost every island. The missionaries coming to Luzon from Spain have to learn the dialect of an island before they are posted to it. Why should they trouble to do so if it is the government’s intention to make Tagalog the official language and suppress all the others? In the convents there are many books in many Filipino languages.

It may be true that foreigners are no longer permitted into the interior but when they were, they generally went to forestall the market and injure the commerce of all parties. Your correspondent says the government supports intolerance and ignorance. It actually protects and promotes useful knowledge.

Perhaps your correspondent wants to introduce those baneful principles that now guide Europe and America and having been opposed, he speaks of intolerance and ignorance. Any foreigner of any religion who lives peaceably is welcome to do business in Philippines and no obstacles are put in his way, provided he obeys the law.

Vol 2 No 20 – 3rd November 1829

The Java Courant carries a report on our April 1829 article (itself copied from Singapore Chronicle) about the insurrection on the island of Java. It says the Dutch colonial government now has some 27,000 European and native troops together with organised Barissans and these forces are independent of the garrisons in the major towns of Java and the other Residencies.

In the war against Diponegoro’s Jog Jakarta rebels it claims the sacrifices already made and the money spent reveal they are prosecuting the war vigorously.[237]

Vol 2 No 22 – Thursday 3rd December 1829

Penang – The Chinese merchants here have sent a letter to Sir John Claridge, the judge of Penang, Malacca and Singapore, dated 19th September 1829:

“In the three years since you arrived you have applied the law in accordance with human nature, been fair to the people and trade has prospered in peace and tranquillity. Now you are ordered to return home and we cannot detain you. We hope that Heaven protects you, that you are promoted and become prosperous, and that you may again come back and let us enjoy your administration of justice. We honour and respect your Court and do not want the Company’s Court in replacement.” Sgd 42 merchants and people of Penang.

Vol 3 No 1 – 4th January 1830

Batavia – We have seen a letter to the Netherlands Consul in Canton concerning the revolution in Java. Sentot, the most famous of Diponegoro’s generals, has surrendered to the Dutch government together with Dipo’s wife and several of his chiefs-of-staff. Dipo is now isolated and should soon be caught thus ending four years of insurrection that has laid waste to this fine country.

Vol 3 No 11 – Tuesday 1st June 1830

On Friday 16th April a Chinese man arrived at Malacca after 3 days walk from the tin mines at Sungei Ougou. He reported that 400 – 500 Chinese miners had been killed by the neighbouring Malays and a similar number had fled into the surrounding jungle.

The dispute started when a Malay murdered a Chinese for his opium and sank the body in a swamp. Another Malay saw the opium, enquired of its source and learned of the deed. He mentioned it to one of the Chinese community which, thus alerted, attacked the Malay village of the murderer.

This provoked the disproportionate response. The involved mine is outside the area of the Company’s jurisdiction at Malacca.

Vol 3 No 24 – Saturday 4th December 1830

Manila – at mid-November there was a prohibition on rice export but it was daily expected to be lifted.

Vol 4 No 8 – Saturday 2nd April 1831

During the recent British war with Burma, the King of Thailand sent for the prominent English merchant in Bangkok (Hunter) and asked how many troops the British had used for their invasion.

On hearing there were 30,000 soldiers fighting there, he thought they were sufficient to cut the grass for the King of Ava’s elephants. He likened the British Empire to a spreading tree with shallow roots.

Vol 4 No 9 – 19th April 1831

A new trade tariff has been promulgated in Manila:

All foreign trading ships pay 2 Reals per ton of registered tonnage. Ships coming in ballast or for repairs or watering pay 1 Real per ton

Prohibited goods – gunpowder and all Asian and American produce (sugar, coffee, indigo, rum, tobacco etc).

Duty free – all machinery, teak, treasure.

There follows a long list of dutiable commodities.

Vol 4 No 10 – Friday 13th May 1831

We see from the Registro Mercantil of Manila that every vessel lately departing for China is required to carry four Chinese who are banished for not paying the capitation tax placed on Chinese residents. This tax is $1 – $10 per man per month depending on his rank in the community. Considerable arrears were allowed to accumulate before the government commenced deportations.

Non-payment now earns imprisonment until a ship to China is available. It is a condition on the rice junk masters that they take four men free with each export cargo to Amoy. 89 men were expelled in February and March. They are all Fukienese. The government’s intention is to create employment for Filipinos in preference to Chinese.

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

Java – The social revolution working through Europe will bring about the end of the VOC’s monopoly. Already Batavia is very unsettled. Hopefully Java commerce will soon revert to its natural channels.

At Padang, on the south west coast of Sumatra, a Malay force is approaching the port and the merchants are preparing to evacuate.

Vol 4 No 22 – Tuesday 15th November 1831

Tin – we have previously mentioned a problem of adulteration of Straits tin from Singapore. Banka tin from Batavia and Straits tin from Malacca have been fine all along but buyers in both Calcutta and Canton have rejected consignments of tin from Singapore.

We now have a letter from a London house to its local correspondent saying good tin is scarce. It says Singapore tin is half-spelter and unsellable.

Vol 4 No 22 – Tuesday 15th November 1831

Over 700 years ago, in about 1080, the people of Cochin China invaded southern China and occupied several towns in Kwang Si and Kwang Tung. They besieged Nanning and massacred all 58,000 occupants.

The cause that the Cochin Chinese were responding to was the ‘green rice law’ whereby local government pressed a loan on farmers but raised the interest rate when the crop was half-grown (green rice) and thus took possession of the crop and, eventually, the land.

We mention this because something similar is now happening in Singapore.

Land that has been cleared for agriculture at great expense is attracting ever-increasing quit rents. Now it is ordered that the latest quit rent (for three years), if unpaid, will result in forfeiture of the land. It exceeds the value that the land can produce. Some Malays recently rioted in the Company’s part of Malacca for the same reason.

Vol 6 No 3 – Saturday 16th February 1833

The Dutch and British authorities, who still contend for mastery in Malaya, have allowed piracy to affect shipping in the Straits. Several incidents have occurred recently near Singapore. The old Malay Rajahs issued passes to prahu to carry guns and act as pirates. If they were caught by the British, they could display the pass to claim Dutch protection.

Vol 6 No 6 – Friday 3rd May 1833

Piracy in the Malacca Straits has become so bad that the Singapore Chronicle reports Chinese merchants of Singapore have commenced a subscription to buy the protection that has been denied them by their government.

Vol 6 No 7 – Saturday 18th May 1833

The inhabitants of Manila are suffering from a water shortage since last month. The river has shrunk due to some volcanic activity in the interior and the little water now flowing has a green colour and unpleasant odour. It is unsuitable for either drinking or cooking.

Vol 6 Nos 13 & 14 – Monday 16thSeptember 1833

The British and native inhabitants of Bombay have been struck with the popularity of the steamer Hugh Lindsay which travels the Bombay/Suez route over the last four years. They believe a steamer service between Europe and India should be established. News sent by the steamer from Europe arrives at Bombay in under two months (via Malta to Alexandria and thence over land and lake to Suez). With proper communications and better ships they suppose it could be done in 50 days.

If this plan is successful, Bombay will become the communications centre for all places to the East. Subscriptions are invited from the communities at Canton as well as Madras and Calcutta. Remington & Co is our agent for collection.[238]

Vol 6 Nos 13 & 14 – Monday 16thSeptember 1833

The USS Peacock (Geisinger) remained at Lintin for six weeks and left on 29th December 1832 to take Edmund Roberts, U S Presidential envoy to Thailand and Cochin China, to his post. They took Morrison as interpreter and he has returned with his report on the voyage:

Cochin China

They tried to anchor at the Bay of Turon, the closest a ship can get to Hue (Shun Fei), the capital city of Cochin China but the current was too strong to enter and they took the envoy to Phu Yen (now Tuy An). This fine coast contains three separate anchorages – Shun Tai, Vung Lam and Vung Chao. Shun Tai is exposed and without a convenient landing place. Vung Lam has a continual heavy swell but is popular with native craft. Vung Chao (Song Cau) would be excellent for foreign ships as it is little used by the natives and very well protected.

Geisinger was soon visited by an old man in a shabby silk dress with whom a conversation was held in written Chinese (the spoken dialect being unintelligible to Chinese speakers on board). Later some smarter-looking officials came, the most senior of whom was a Judge. The official dress is very similar to Chinese officials. Shoes and stockings are not worn by the people but the gentry wear sandals or slippers. Their hair is uncut and worn in a knot at the back of the head under a black crepe turban (men) or white cotton turban (women). Poor people have coloured turbans. Important people travel in a hammock suspended from a pole carried by two, four, eight or more men according to the rank of the recumbent occupant. Attendants ride on horseback there being many breeds of small pony in the country. A few elephants follow the most important dignitaries. The military escorts appeared smart and well disciplined when compared with China and Thailand. We had brought some rice with us which we traded for vegetables and dried fish.

We discovered that women are the only traders. We daily saw 400 – 500 of them in the bazaar selling fruit, vegetables, fish, rice, pottery, tobacco, etc. Whenever we asked a man for the price of an item he would turn to a woman for the answer. There is a large Chinese community and most of the artisans are Chinese. The only Europeans still resident are Catholic missionaries but they remained hidden from us. Whenever we went ashore to ramble, the soldiers followed but, as soon as they became tired, we were ordered back to the ship. The common people were very dirty and most exuded natural odours but they were generally hospitable. The officials placed repeated hindrances in the way of our Envoy proceeding to Hue and after five weeks in early February we broke off attempts at negotiation and left Vung Lam for Thailand.


The Thais were blunt but civil in comparison to the people of Annam. We arrived off the River Mei Nam on 18th February finding it too shallow to enter. We anchored 10 miles off and took a small boat to Pak Nam the local town on the right bank 2 miles up. After some correspondence the envoy, Geisinger and nine others went by barge up to the capital.

Bangkok (the Fukienese name for the capital) is a water city about 30 miles above Pak Nam and has 500,000 inhabitants. The majority are Chinese but there are many nationalities. A large number of floating houses align both banks of the river for four miles. We reached Bangkok on 25th February and interviewed an official who called himself the Chao Phraya Phra Klang. He was surrounded by many small golden vessels containing betelnut, tobacco, water, etc. These gold cups are dispensed only by the King to distinguish men of rank. Several attendants were prostrated around him. The officer wore a chintz skirt to below his knees but was otherwise naked. He asked many trite questions using some Thai Portuguese as interpreters. We visited him several times informally thereafter but he is a boorish man and communicates by grunting.

The entire Thai community is divided by strict rules of inequality, people of inferior rank being unable to do anything before superiors except prostrate themselves.

The Phra Klang’s children are 13-14 years old and a ceremony of shaving their heads was performed with the Portuguese Consul, Carlos Manuel da Silveira, in attendance. He was very informative on Thai culture and customs. The Thais are vegetarians and drink no wine. After our official business was concluded we saw the King on 18th March. Capt Burney’s prior mission of 1826 provided us with references for etiquette but we were allowed to wear shoes which is fortunate.[239] The palace is a fine whitewashed brick building. The guards were well turned out. The audience room was large and carpeted. The supporting pillars are square and the wall had been painted in a way that resembled wallpaper. Lighting was by some common Dutch tin lanterns. The walls were decorated with Chinese daubs from Hog Lane.[240] Thai, Chinese, Portuguese and other nationalities were represented. The Portuguese were Benedito and Pascoal d’Alvergerais, two natives of Cambodia in His Majesty’s army and Jose da Piedade, a native of Thailand and port captain. The Thai King is very fat.

A few days later we concluded a treaty. The terms are believed to be the same as those accorded to the English in 1826. On 6th April we left.

Vol 7 No 2 – Tuesday 14th January 1834

On 8th January, one of the Canton news-sheets published (from what was said to be an official report from Leen Chow, near Hainan) an article concerning the royal family of Cochin China. An uncle and a nephew are now contesting for the crown.

The article says the Yuan dynasty of Cochin China commenced with Yuan Kwang Chung and continued to Yuan King Shing when another Yuan arose and usurped the entire country. He based his capital at Foo Chun in Kea Lung and gave his younger sister in marriage to the King of Thailand. Kea Lung’s first son died leaving two grandchildren and, when Kea Lung himself died, the people wanted the eldest grandson to be King but Kea Lung’s second son Ming Ming allied himself with the army, seized power and made himself King.

Friends of Kea Lung then sent the first grandson to live in Thailand, fearing for his safety. It turned out that Ming Ming did murder some relatives of Kea Lung. He made the region called Nung Nae into a province and levied heavy taxes on the residents. They became impoverished and wished to rebel but lacked a leader.

Kea Lung’s first grandson in Thailand heard of these developments and in July 1833 he entered Nung Nae and the people joined him. He executed the officials of Ming Ming and proclaimed himself King of Nung Nae. Then six neighbouring provinces submitted to him. It is said the Thais provided troops for the grandson’s use.

Ming Ming has responded by amassing an army of 4,000 and fifty warjunks. There is no way of guessing how this will turn out. The supporters of the old rebel Lee Wai Leung (who has been seized) are still in the hills. The frontier with Cochin China should be guarded with care.[241] It is said the To Kwong Emperor has sent 2,000 troops to assist Ming Ming.

Vol 7 No 4 – Tuesday 28th January 1834

A new regulation at Manila requires a foreign ship to undergo repairs worth at least $2,000 before it can load a rice cargo for export. This does not apply to Spanish ships.

Vol 7 No 8 – Tuesday 25th February 1834

Charles Marjoribanks has written a letter to Charles Grant about developing British trade in the East. He says Thailand, Cochin China and Cambodia offer prospects but their governments are autocratic and not susceptible to law.

The best ambassador to such countries is a ship-of-war, which officers can explain our commercial needs. As Lord Nelson said, “a British admiral is the best of all ambassadors for he settles in a few hours what diplomatists take weeks and months to achieve”. Yet people still tell us that if we must go to these countries we have to abide by their laws.

Sir Henry Wootton[242] described the duties of a diplomat 200 years ago – “to tell lies for the good of his country”.

Vol 7 No 11 – Tuesday 18th March 1834

Indian news – Ram Mohan Roy is tipped to become a legislator in the new parliament of the Bombay Presidency (first post-Charter parliament).

Vol 7 No 27 – Tuesday 8th July 1834

British trade to Java has increased and The Times gives information on it. (not reproduced here)

Vol 7 No 27 – Tuesday 8th July 1834

The London Times – British merchants are concerned at the state of Java. It is too late to complain of our retrocession of the island to the Dutch at the end of the last war, but we have a claim under the commercial treaties that were made at the time of the retrocession.

Readers will recall that Mr Canning, to compensate for British wartime sacrifice in respect of Java, made a treaty with the Dutch in 1824 which restricted duty on goods brought in British ships to no more than double the duty on goods brought in Dutch ships. And if goods were imported duty-free on a Dutch ship, the maximum duty to apply to British goods was 6%.

Now Dutch cotton and woollen cloth is imported duty-free but British competing products are taxed at 25%. Representations by the involved merchants have procured no redress. Java contains 5 million people and could be an important market.

Vol 7 No 28 – Tuesday 15th July 1834

In the 1612 / 13 season Captain John Saris opened British trade in Japan and the India Company opened a factory at Firando[243] until 1623 when they abandoned it. Communications were via Bantam and occasionally direct from England.

In 1621 Captain Pring in the James Royal, 1,000 tons, sailed to Firando and interviewed the Emperor. During the next year the suppression of the Jesuits and their followers commenced. Mr Wm Cocks, the captain of the factory and a Cape merchant, then returned to England.

Capt Saris on his arrival in 1611 delivered a letter from James I to the Japanese Emperor. He presented ten articles to form the basis of a commercial treaty. He edited them down from 14 articles as the Japanese value brevity. The Emperor said he would answer soon and invited Saris to visit his sons at Yeddo (Tokyo). He was given men and horses and promised a reply on his return. Saris made the visit and on his return the Emperor approved all except one of King James’ requests. Adams, the factory secretary, had proposed that “as the Chinese refuse to trade with us, if we take their ships by force, may we bring the cargoes to Japan for sale.” At first the Emperor agreed but the Chinese representative at his Court protested and he changed his mind. He stamped the amended agreement with his seal (not a wax seal but embossed and painted with red dye like a stamp). This treaty allowed the English Company to enter any Japanese port without hindrance and abide there for as long as they liked, selling their goods and buying others with no interference in the prices. No further approval from the Emperor was required. The English were allowed to build houses anywhere and sell them. Their persons and goods were to be subject to English law. Japan agreed to assist in cases of shipwreck and restore recovered cargo to the English owner.

An attempt to reopen commerce was made in 1673. At Nagasaki the Japanese governor and his secretary boarded one of the English ships and were presented with a copy of the original treaty. He asked for the original but it had been returned to the Imperial Council when the previous trading factory was broken-up. Thus we could not produce the version with the Emperor’s seal on it. The copy was not recognised. Since then Charles II had married Catherine of Braganza and part of the wedding agreement stipulated that England would not trade with Japan.[244]

The last attempt was in 1813 when a British contingent joined a Dutchman in an embassy from Batavia during the brief British occupation of Java. There is no record of this outside the India Company archives but Sir Stamford Raffles, in his History of Java, appends an account of its expenses and sales. It showed a profit of £42,126.

The failure of our efforts and our exclusion from the country was due to the deep dislike that the Japanese felt for Christianity. The Japanese attitude is caught in the following extract from Golowin’s “Recollections of Japan”:

“Japanese distrust of Europeans is entirely the fault of the Europeans. The people are happy to trade with us but not the government. The government says the people are blind and know nothing; they need guidance – they ignore the bad consequences of relations with foreigners and consider only their personal advantage from trade.

“Before the Christian religion was introduced, Japanese ships travelled to China and India for trade. But the missionaries inspired such a fear of God that the government proscribed the religion and its practitioners. The death penalty was introduced for any who travelled overseas and foreigners were only permitted to visit in small numbers and under extreme precautions.

“Now Japanese ships are only permitted to trade with Korea and Loo Choo where the inhabitants are considered as Japanese as they pay tribute to Yeddo. Ships from those countries can also trade in Japan. Of the Europeans, only the Dutch have preserved trading rights but under onerous terms. They are more like prisoners than merchants. China supplies Japan with rice, porcelain, ivory and all sorts of food and spices. The Japanese return copper, varnish and dried salt fish. The Dutch trade sugar, metals, spices and medicines and some European goods – watches, mirrors and mathematical instruments. The Japanese return copper, varnish and some manufactures. The Dutch can sell Japanese goods easily in Malaya and the Moluccas.”

Only Nagasaki is open to the Chinese and the Dutch. The Chinese are permitted twice the number of ships that the Dutch have. They did better previously but in 1773 their trading privileges were severely curtailed after Christian books printed in China (by the Jesuits) found their way into Japan. There was also the matter of the earlier expulsion of Japanese ships from Chinese ports (the authority for these propositions is Thunberg).

All foreign trade is a monopoly of the Emperor. The foreign ship arrives and lands its goods; the Emperor’s servants then fix their values. The foreigner can either accede to the Japanese valuation or recover his goods and leave. No bargaining is allowed. The Emperor then resells the goods to Japanese wholesalers. The high retail price of Dutch goods in Japan suggests someone is profiteering in between.

The Japanese and the Chinese adopt the same policy to Europeans. It is founded on contempt and dread. It is rare to see scorn and fear associated as causes of government policy. If we could find the letter the Emperor sent to James I via Capt Saris it might open the way to improved relations.

Vol 7 No 39 – Tuesday 30th September 1834

A list of pay scales for officers in the Company’s Navy is given.

Vol 8 No 15 – Tuesday 14th April 1835

Manila – the expected trading junk from Nanking arrived early April.

Vol 8 No 26 – Tuesday 30th June 1835

The English brig Clementine of Mauritius arrived at Oahu (Sandwich Islands) from Ascension with news of Captain Dowsett. Readers will recall Dowsett took the schooner Victoria to the Pescadores for trade and disappeared.

The report from Oahu says the master of the Clementine was aware that two English traders chartered the Haverly (Capt Cathcart) to investigate the Victoria’s disappearance. Cathcart visited the Pescadores for a few days but found no trace of Dowsett. He was told by the island chief that Dowsett was dead and Cathcart abandoned his search.

The Clementine during her recent voyage met two Pescadores islanders on Strong Island who told the Clementine crew there were two survivors from the Victoria called Sam and George. Their descriptions matched those of Dowsett and a New Zealander who accompanied him ashore at Pescadores. The Clementine master gave this information to Cathcart of the Haverly at Ascension. It is possible he may now return to the Pescadores to resume his search. There is another ship from the Sandwich Islands which will shortly leave for the China seas to collect seashells and may touch at Pescadores.

It is conceivable that Dowsett may yet be found alive.[245]

Vol 8 No 28 – Tuesday 14th July 1835

Alexander’s East India Magazine, February 1835 – Clause 87 of the India Act requires that no native Indian be barred from holding office under the Company by reason of his religion, colour, descent, etc.

The Court of Directors have instructed the Madras Presidency in writing, as published in the Madras Gazette of 6th July 1834, to appoint Howe Daniel Showers as a cadet of infantry provided neither of his parents are of native extraction. Such is the system pursued by the Honourable Company.

This company is unfit to rule India. We have innumerable examples of its despotism. Here it is defying the express will of the British people.

Vol 8 No 51 – 22nd December 1835

In 1830 the Company’s supporters in the Commons numbered 62 MP’s, of whom ten were Directors. Those Directors were returned by three proprietory boroughs, four boroughs containing totally 850 votes, one Scottish burgh and one Scottish county with 161 voters. MP’s receive £300 p a but these ten Directors brought a patronage to bear upon the votes of the House of more than £250,000 derived from their share of the average number of annual Company appointments:

1 writership to China @ £10,000
68 writerships to India @ £5,000*
468 military, medical & civil appointments @ £500
£ 10,000
£ 34,000

* The figure does not cast. It might refer to 6 – 8 writerships to India @ £5,000.

This excludes the local patronage for India House and the company’s shipping, the supply of stores to India and the Directors’ own trade.

51 of the Company’s MPs are shareholders or contractors of the Company. Of these, 28 were returned by proprietory boroughs. This group of 62 MP’s controls 100 votes in Company General Meetings. A vote at that time required possession of £2,200 invested in Company stock so 62 MP’s had at least 220,000 reasons for maintaining the monopoly.

18 MP’s had served the company in India of whom six received pensions from the company of £1,000 – £2,000 p a. There were in fact only two MP’s in the House who had resided in India but had not been servants of the Company.

Apart from this group of 62 there are other MP’s who receive the Company’s money or influence.

17 Peers own 31 votes in Company meetings. They have relatives holding another 18 votes. These 59 votes are worth £107,800

Hence 79 politicians and their relations possessed 149 votes, which value was increased to £2,700 by the memorable compromise promoted by Mr Charles Grant – that sometime President of the Board of Control, sometime shareholder of the Company. It is not possible to evaluate the proceeds that individuals made in jobbing Company stock – under Villiers it dropped to 191 but under Macaulay it rose with every communication. The late Charles Grant was the most able Company Director to ever buy a seat at Westminster but he was actually devoted to monopoly as the policies of his sons demonstrate. Thanks to the Reform Act this Director’s bench has been broken-up.

Vol 9 No 18 – 3rd May 1836

Manila report – the following remarks are contained in a letter I have just received from Manila. Sgd Juvenis 4th May:

An iron ship called Vasco has been launched on the Pasig River here – 96 feet long, 26 feet wide and, with part of the engine installed, it presently draws 42”. The plates are ½” thick and riveted with 96,000 rivets. It was built by the engineers M/s Bailey and Granger who were called in by Sr. E de Otadui who has arranged the construction on behalf of the Spanish colonial government. Indeed the ship is now moored in the river opposite Otadui’s fine mansion.

The present governor Don Pedro Antonio de Solarax is a forward-looking modern administrator who is freeing commerce from its historical obstructions and spurring agriculture.

Manila has a beautiful river (the Pasig) that flows passed the walled town through the commercial area from some lakes 30 miles away. Around these lakes is rich soil. For one mile from the river mouth the draft is 17’ at low tide and it is the governor’s intention to make this the port of Manila once the ironside ship under construction has cleared the bar and widened the channel from the present 12 feet to 19 feet.

Vol 10 No 17 – 25th April 1837

Letter to the Editor – The Singapore papers of March 1837 discuss the illegality of part of the American trade at that port. Some Americans use Singapore’s free port status to ship rice cargoes to China. The convention of 1815 between England and USA permits Americans to ship from British-controlled ports only to an American port. The Singapore Chronicle asserts the Americans should be bound by the convention; the Singapore Free Press contrarily asserts they should participate equally in Singapore’s free trade. The merchants of Singapore naturally want American business. The civil and naval authorities there support American interests and propose no interference.

I wish to canvass the views of the merchants at Canton. The purchase of Singapore in 1820 does not appear preparatory to territorial acquisition but rather to naval command of the Straits. This view is supported by the convention we subsequently made with the Netherlands whereby both countries agreed to confine themselves to their existing claims in eastern seas. The military purpose of Singapore was to be financed by trade and industry. The city was not extant in 1815 when we made the agreement with the Federal Government in Washington. That agreement was refreshed in 1818 and 1828 but in neither case was Singapore mentioned. America has never formally claimed for admission to Singapore trade but a local order was promulgated 2-3 years ago admitting them although it might be categorised legally as a concession and not an acknowledgement of right of any American claim.

The question thus reduces to ‘do the Americans take rice to China overtly or covertly?’ If overtly, it is at idem with the interests of Singapore. It does not appear to be covert as American ships openly offer Singaporeans to take mails etc., to China. It seems Singapore is an exception to the normal Company rule (applied in Calcutta or Bombay, etc.) that security for destination be provided. Singapore requires no such security. Singapore has no Customs House. The only documentary requirements it places on the shipping are for statistical purposes. It follows that the British authorities at Singapore tacitly concede the right of trade to Americans. If they did not, the Americans might anchor ‘in the outer waters’ and obtain their cargoes there. In fact the resident American agents bring all their shipping into the roads. I myself recently saw an American ship at Singapore openly loading cargo for China within ½ mile of one of our warships. There is really no compelling argument for legalistic restrictions if one intends to develop one’s territory. Conceding a freedom of trade at Singapore to the Americans expresses the spirit of our law. America at present has little to sell in China. As a consequence, its traders go to England for their cargoes and touch at Singapore en route for rice. They might alternatively buy rice at Java or Manila. Of these Asian ports Singapore is still the least important. The rice that the Americans ship is part of Singapore’s re-exports. It originates in Bali, Bangkok or Cochin China. In buying it the Americans spread wealth to both Singapore and the producing countries. This wealth creates an ability to buy other goods to our advantage as Britain continues to dominate the trade of Asia.

The Navigation Acts should not be applied to a territory that produces nothing, taxes nothing and consumes very little. Why drive this trade away from Singapore? Our laws must be interpreted and enforced liberally. Advices from Java suggest the rice crop this year will be 18 million piculs. At least 1 million will be surplus to domestic requirements. If all the American ships trading to the east were to carry this surplus, they would require a year to shift it.

We should certainly not deter American trade at Singapore. They are allured to come mainly to re-export Indian opium to China. This is only a slight advantage to American trade and any unfriendliness would put them off. If American trade was closed out of Singapore, the Sultan of Johore would welcome it. Indeed he might sell them a harbour in the same way he sold Singapore to us. Sgd SSS

PS – I find the British Treasury was asked last May for its opinion on American trade at Singapore. It opined advisedly that Americans are authorised to trade between US or UK ports and Singapore and also between US ports and any British possession in Asia. A further explicit enquiry, whether Americans may share in all the privileges of the free port of Singapore, has been made and a reply is awaited.

Vol 10 No 22 – 30th May 1837

London paper – The people of the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) are dying off. In 1778 Captain Cook estimated their numbers at 400,000. On the arrival of American missionaries in 1819 this had reduced to 220,000. In the census of 1834 there were 110,000 (Hawaii 30,000; Maui 30,000, Oahu 28,000, Kamai 15,000, Molokui & Runai 7,000). The missionary records for the last 18 months suggest there are three deaths for every birth. The British government should act now to save these people.

Vol 10 No 25 – 20th June 1837

Bombay Courier 11th May – A fire started at Surat on 24th April. There was difficulty getting water and a strong northerly breeze quickly spread the blaze. It burned all that day and the next, the wind veering to affect the entire town. The intensity of the heat was unprecedented. Apart from housing, the timber foundations of the bridge were burned and the bridge itself collapsed.

Those people who took sanctuary in stone buildings were cooked to death by radiated heat. The native Shroffs, who hold mortgages on much of the housing, have been bankrupted. Many corpses were discovered with jewels, gold and silver in their hands. 500 bodies have so far been recovered. 6,000 houses (out of 8,000) and a great number of cattle were destroyed.

The survivors are without food or shelter and Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy has sent rice ships from Bombay at his own expense. The Parsee community of Bombay donated 125,000 rupees and a subscription amongst the Europeans there raised a further 20,000 rupees. Shortly after the fire, the Tapti River overflowed its banks and the ruined town was inundated. Many of the surviving buildings had their foundations washed away and collapsed.

Vol 10 No 27 – 4th July 1837

Calcutta Courier, 22nd April – Dreadful fires have broken out all over Calcutta during the last 3-4 days and, remarkably, they have all commenced around noon when the wind is strong. The fires all commenced in the native quarters and ten bodies have so far been recovered.

Vol 10 No 30 – 25th July 1837

Calcutta Courier, 30th May – Steam communication between England and India has been agreed. The British government will be responsible for the England – Alexandria portion and the Indian government will organise an overland route to the Red Sea and thence by steamer to Bombay.

Vol 10 No 44 – 14th November 1837

A sale has been made at Rio de Janeiro of some tea grown locally in the Lagoa de Freitas gardens. It sold for a good price and reveals that tea can be cultivated in Brazil.

Vol 10 No 48 – 28th November 1837

Died peacefully at Madras in June 1837, Mrs R J Baboom 79 years; and in September 1837 her eldest daughter M Baboom of cholera.

Vol 10 No 50 – 12th December 1837

Dr McCosh has reported on the new territory of Assam. He says opium is widely grown by the natives who in March collect the capsule-juice on strips of cloth which they then dry and store in bundles. For use they tear off 2 sq ins of cloth and infuse it in water. After drinking this they chew the cloth until all residue of opium flavour is exhausted. Infusions are also made from the poppy head and from the dried and powdered remains of the capsule.

Tea trees identical to the Chinese trees grow on the hills of Assam and only require pruning to secure to us the blessings that presently go to China. These shrubs were only discovered ten years ago. The Commissioner for Assam sent some specimens to Calcutta during the Burmese war but little attention was paid to them. It was a subsequent Commissioner, Captain Jenkins, and Lieutenant Charleton of the Assam infantry, who drew attention to their commercial possibilities. The natives constantly drink tea but their method of production is simple. They roll the tea leaves into hard balls for preservation. The Brahmaputra provides direct communication between the tea hills of Assam and Calcutta.

Vol 11 No 1 – 2nd January 1838

Died at Manila 17th September 1837 – Mary G, wife of Russell Sturgis of Boston.

Vol 11 No 8 – 20th February 1838

The Penny Magazine of August 1837 has an article “Newspapers in Asia”.

The first paper published east of India was the Prince of Wales Island Gazette which commenced at Penang in 1805 and continued to 1827. It was immediately replaced by the Penang Register and Miscellany but that was suppressed a year later and replaced by a government paper which only lasted a year as well. Then in 1833 the Prince of Wales Island Gazette resurfaced and is still circulated.

Malacca did not get a paper until 1828 when the Malacca Observer and Chinese Chronicle appeared for a year. Malacca also had a monthly Periodical Miscellany and a quarterly Indo-Chinese Gleaner (1817 – 1822) but they are hardly newspapers.

Singapore has two newspapers – the Chronicle, started in 1823, and the Free Press in 1836.

12 years ago Macau had the Abelha da China and Gazette de Macau but they have since closed. There are now the Chronica de Macau, a fortnightly in its third year, and the Macaista Imparcial, a twice weekly that began in 1836.

In China we have the Chinese Repository for the last six years. It is 48 pages of octavo and is published monthly. It has a circulation of 700 – 800. A third of the distribution is to USA with about 40 copies sent to England. It contains extracts from the Chinese government gazettes, translations of historical documents and much valuable information about China. The Canton Register is anti-Chinese. The Canton Press is strongly free trade, more commercial than the Canton Register and decidedly less anti-Chinese.

Vol 11 No 38 – 18th September 1838

Letter of Admiral Maitland to Capt Elliot in China – HMS Alligator (Sir J Bremer) is sailing to Australia to establish a colony on the north coast to be called Port Essington. This area is regularly visited by the Bugis traders who go there to harvest beche-de-mer. The purpose of the colony is to provide a sanctuary for seamen who are shipwrecked in Torres Strait. At present they have to sail or row to Timor.

I wish to publish this initiative in India and China. The few people presently at Port Essington are obliged to buy their building materials at inflated prices from the Dutch on Java. Perhaps there will be a trader somewhere who is willing to send a ship?

Vol 12 No 7 – 12th February 1839

The famous Parsee merchant Rustomjee Cowasjee is building a 600 ton passenger ship at Calcutta which will be deployed on the overland route. It will start plying between Indian ports and Suez in December 1839. Each round voyage is expected to take 55 days. The ship will carry 25 passengers. The poop cabins are 15 ft x 15 ft and the side cabins are 7 ft x 8 ft. Fares will be quite high.

Vol 12 No 11 – 12th March 1839

India Gazette 24th December – The Portuguese Viceroy at Goa was assassinated on 25th November 1838. An unknown assailant shot him three times while he was dancing. The archbishop and Jose Antonio Quoroda Pomicia have jointly assumed the government. Army units have been dispersed throughout the territory to prevent their acting in concert against the administration.

Vol 12 No 11 – 12th March 1839

London Globe, 5th November – Sir James Rivett-Carnac (the Company’s Chairman) has been nominated Governor of Bombay Presidency replacing Sir Robert Grant.

There is a standing Company order that no Director can become an administrator in India until two years after his directorship ended. It seems Sir James will not be able to take up the post.

Sir Wilmot Horton is rumoured to want the job.

Vol 12 No 21 – 21st May 1839

Alexandria Gazette – British India is perpetuating the slave trade with a new system. The inhabitants of the hill districts, called ‘hill coolies’, are being systematically transported to Mauritius and British Guiana. It is proposed to soon send some to the British West Indies as labourers.

London Spectator – Lord Glenelg[246] is patronising a new slave trade. The trade in ‘hill coolies’ is becoming extensive. The Whitby has just arrived in West Indies. Out of a cargo of 289 coolies, only 8 died and few were ill. But only 8 female companions were sent with the men. They will need to form a self-sustaining community because the negro slaves speak a different language and will not mix with them.

Editor – these ‘hill coolies’ volunteer for service and they are well paid. The system may be abused – we have crimps supplying the navy – but it is not a slave trade.

Vol 12 No 23 – 4th June 1839

The Calcutta Englishman – Our explorers rush off to the poles or leave their bleached bones all over Africa, but they seldom explore the Eastern archipelago. From what little we know, this area has more mineral wealth than the Americas. It is unrivalled in natural beauty.

It is accordingly satisfying to announce that James Brooke, the Yacht Club member, is mounting an expedition in his yacht the Royalist, a 140 ton schooner. She has been equipped to make all sorts of observations and for the safe keeping of natural history specimens.

The ship will proceed to Singapore for interpreters and pilots. They will contact the Bugis merchants and seek for their goodwill in the usual way (civility and presents) to avoid any jealousy as trading rivals.

Vol 12 No 25 – 18th June 1839

The Observer, 10th February 1839 – The Russian Tsar has disavowed any hostility to India and considers the lands beyond the Indus to be surplus to his needs. He says he approved the Persian siege of Herat because the inhabitants around that town were continually rebelling. It appeared to him that the pacification of Herat was essential to the tranquillity of Persia.

Vol 13 No 3 – 21st January 1840

Calcutta Courier, 4th September 1839 – The famine of 1837-38 in the upper part of Bengal province is believed to have killed over half a million Indians. This is in a country of unequalled fertility where much of the land remains unutilised and jungly.

We should do more to promote the welfare of Indians and British understanding of the country.

To this end the following subscribers have decided to form a British India Society to improve the conditions of the natives. They will publish and widely circulate impartial information on the state of Indian society. They will assemble a suitable library and print a periodical publication of their proceedings. The provisional committee is Jonathan Backhouse, John Bowring Ll. D., Sir Charles Forbes et al.

Vol 13 No 13 – 31st March 1840

India Review – Rustomjee Cowasjee is distinguished by appearance, habits, religion and enterprise. The Orientalist Wilford traced the exodus of the Parsees from Persia to the years 632-33 AD. Other Persian immigrants to India at that time were the Mahrattas and Ramas. Richie tells us that the Parsees are the most intelligent of the Bombay natives.

They were originally ordered in four castes. The first emigrants were artisans, many of whom became wealthy and were rewarded with leadership of their community. They displayed that common characteristic of a minority in liaising closely together for mutual benefit. In about 1800 AD the system of patronage operated by the wealthier Parsees broke down and the poorer members were thrown upon their own efforts. This produced a spirit of independence in the group. The group now has connections with almost every trading firm in Bombay.

The Company tried to restore the moral power of the higher Parsees by means of their punchayets[247] but found it impracticable. The main difficulty arose from the increased numbers and wealth of the Parsees. Most of them preferred the British Indian courts to the restraints of the punchayet. These are the people who produced Rustomjee Cowasjee.

He was born in Bombay in 1790. He received a business education and entered trade in 1806 in partnership with his brother Framjee Cowasjee. In 1812 Rustomjee went to Calcutta, Madras and Ceylon. The following year he returned to Calcutta and from thence came on to China. He stayed for three years. He returned briefly to Bombay in 1817 and then came back for another three years. In 1820 he went to Calcutta and remained there, sourcing cargoes for his ships. In 1838 he brought his female relatives to Calcutta, reportedly the first time female Parsees had left Bombay since the emigration from Persia. He has five sons and one daughter. The eldest boy Dadabhoy is 28 years old and works here in China. All the other boys are in Calcutta working with their father. Rustomjee is Secretary to the Calcutta Douking Company, a joint-stock of 800,000 Rupees capital, and both he and his 2nd son Manackjee are shareholders in this company. Rustomjee is the owner of the ships Cowasjee Family, Rustomjee Cowasjee, Sylph, Mermaid and Bremar. He trades mainly with Bombay and China in cotton and opium.

His brother Framjee Cowasjee is a liberal donor to Elphinstone College in India and owns a splendid estate called Povoy about 10 miles out of Bombay where he grows sugar, indigo, etc.

Rustomjee donated 100,000 Rupees to build a Parsee church.

Vol 13 No 22 – 2nd June 1840

Tea in cakes forms an important staple of trade at Kyakhta. The Marquess of Londonderry[248] in his ‘Recollections of a Tour in the North of Europe in 1836 and 1837′ says the tea is mixed with the leaves of a plant of the saxafraga genus found on the Mongolian steppe. This additive is steeped in lamb’s blood before being mixed with the tea and dried in ovens. The drinker dissolves a piece of cake in boiling water and adds meal, fat and salt. All the nomadic tribes of central Asia are said by the Marquess to drink this infusion.

Vol 13 No 24 – 16th June 1840

Bombay Courier, 25th April – The Portuguese Viceroys of Goa have become unlucky chaps. Baron Sabroso arrived in November 1838 but within a year he fell out of his carriage and died. The Archbishop succeeded him as Acting Viceroy but died five months later. Meanwhile, Baron Candal had been sent out as replacement. He arrived in November 1839 but has now died of fever associated with a cancer on his back.

Vol 13 No 25 – 23rd June 1840

Extract from Maxwell’s Life of the Duke concerning the Indian Sepoy:

The Indian army is commanded by British officers and is second to none in efficiency. The sepoy in battle is as gallant and as disciplined as a European soldier; in camp he is better in sobriety and general conduct. The Hindu is calm and resolute in danger; his fidelity is unbounded; his loyalty unshakable. Want and suffering can never induce him to desert – only death detaches him from the colours. His character unites the mildness of a woman with the indomitable courage of a hero. In many ways the Indian auxiliary is a model to every army in Europe. He could make-do with discomfort, pain, hunger, thirst and death but he would never abandon his faith.[249]

Vol 14 No 29 – 20th July 1841

At the election of new Company directors in April 1841, Plowden was successful along with five other applicants.

A statistical review of entrances and clearances of British shipping in and out of the Company’s domains in 1839 and 1840 shows a near doubling of registered tonnage trading to India.

Vol 14 No 48 – 30th November 1841

The Portuguese are producing tea in Brazil and the Spanish likewise in Paraguay. Since the war English importers have been investigating this supply and contracting for sample shipments. It is called Paraguay tea or maté and is made from a plant like the camellia but bigger. It has a bitter taste like Bohea.

Vol 15 No 9 – 1st March 1842

South Africa Commercial Advertiser, 30th October 1841 – The Royal Navy’s anti-slavery patrols off Angola have returned to Simon’s Bay (Simonstown) after a cruise of 16 months with 33 slave-trading ships and 3,427 negroes.

Vol 15 No 13 – 31.3.42 edition

A report of 1st September 1841 from Egypt indicates Aden will be a new Gibraltar of the East. The Arabs have ruined the coffee trade of Mocha and Hodeida (Al Hudaydah) by overtaxing it.

It also notes the Company has acquired Tajoum which is the only Abyssinian port that permits access to the interior.[250] Hitherto access had required the permission of the governor of Aden. All the ports along the west coast of the Red Sea are under British influence and we can keep the French out. Mules, sheep and coffee are all available at very reasonable prices. There is a large slave trade. The women are dark but comely and quite unlike Africans (probably Somalis). Boys and women are cheaper than horses and mules. If our influence predominates we can end this traffic.

Friend of China 7.4.42 edition

A group of six German missionaries recently passed through Nagpore travelling North to settle themselves on the Nerbudda in Malwa.

Vol 15 No 16, 19th April 1842

The great Calcutta agency house of Scott Fairlie and Co has failed.

Friend of China 21.4.42 edition

About 100 years ago we took possession of the Falklands islands after a war with Spain. Dr Johnson got a pension from the Crown for writing a pamphlet urging their retention. Now as a result of a dispute with Buenos Aires we are making them real colonies.

The land is on sale in London at 12/- per acre. It would be a great place for a penal colony now transportation to New South Wales and van Dieman’s Land is being stopped.

Friend of China, 21stApril 1842:

Recited from the Sydney Gazette of 1st June 1841:

Mr G R Dunlop is coming from Sydney to the Indian isles and China to select labourers for emigration without charge to them beyond the actual cost.

The last harvest in New South Wales could not be collected due to lack of labour and whole fields of wheat rotted.

The Sydney press supports his initiative.

Friend of China, 21stApril 1842:

Mr Lyall, son of the Chairman of the India Company, has been nominated to succeed Lawrence Peel as Advocate General of Bengal. Peel becomes Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at Fort William.[251]

Friend of China 21.4.42 edition

Mr Allen, an American missionary in Bombay, reports the Jains there have established a hospital for animals where 50 old horses, 170 cows, 200 dogs (for whose heads a bounty is paid by the government) and numerous cats, monkeys and other animals are cared for.

Meanwhile humans die daily in the streets. They are excluded.

Friend of China 21.4.42 edition

The Sydney papers are asking what residents are entitled to. The last administrative legislation affecting Australians was Bathurst’s Act of 1823 when the population was 30,000 of whom only 16,000 were free. Now New South Wales has 140,000 residents of whom only 23,000 are convicts. London neglects its colonies. The 1823 Act was provisional for 4 years but is still unamended and in full force.

Friend of China 21.4.42 edition

The new colony at Port Essington (across the bay from Darwin) is providing a refuge for distressed seamen navigating the Torres Straits. The previous alternative was Timor which is very long row.

Dr Earle, in his recent publication on Borneo and the Eastern Seas, has provided much information on this colony.

Friend of China 21.4.42 edition

The Under Secretary of State for the Colonies Mr Stephen (known popularly as Mr Mother Country) has insisted Auckland, where 300 Europeans reside, be the seat of government in New Zealand.

At Port Nicholson (Wellington) there are 4,000 Europeans.

Vol 15 No 17, 26th April 1842

Boggs Taylor & Co, another large Agency at Calcutta, has suspended payments.

Vol 15 No 17, 26th April 1842

The 74 regiments of the Bengal army are to be augmented by the addition of an extra company each, making ten companies of totally some 1,200 soldiers per native infantry regiment. In Bombay the additions will total 2,600 and in Madras 5,400 making with Bengal a total increase in the Company’s army of 16,000 men.

By increasing unit size, the Company saves on European officers but makes each regiment more unwieldy. HM regiments have about forty officers each whilst the Company’s will have fifteen subsequent to this augmentation.[252]

Friend of China 12.5.42 edition

Cochin China and Thailand have a long standing dispute.

The Thais have sent 5 warships and 40 warjunks to Cochin China with 2,000 – 3,000 men. There are already many thousands of Thai men along the frontier between the two countries.

Contention has arisen over the status of Cambodia which was formerly a Thai vassal. The Cambodians have asked Cochin China to protect them whilst the Thais wish to restore their former position.

It is reported that the Thais advanced on a frontier fort which was surrendered without a fight. When they occupied it, it blew-up.

Friend of China 12.5.42 edition

The Russians have been defeated by the Circassians. This is becoming a disastrous war for Russia and is lasting too long. It would be honourable of England to intervene with Russia to prevent the enslavement of these people.[253]

Does it not diminish the prestige of powers like France and Russia when they are stopped by Algerians and Circassians?

Friend of China 19.5.42 edition

8 years of labour (1833 –1841) has allowed Java to increase its coffee harvest from 12 to 55 million kgs and its sugar harvest from 7 to 50 million kgs.

Friend of China 23.6.42 edition

The Heir Apparent in Siam is Chow Fah, an enterprising man who introduced ship building along western lines in Bangkok. Thailand now has six ships of 200 – 800 tons. The first attempts were not too good but the latest are strong and sail as well as anyone’s. They were first deployed trading with Singapore but this year they have been armed and sent to Cochin China for the war.

Prince Chow Fah has consulted visiting foreign ship captains and also mastered navigation. He understands enough English to use it in his mathematical studies. He drills his crews personally and requires orders for gunnery exercises to be given in English too. He has a few hundred Cochin Chinese prisoners. In the recent expedition to Cochin China he was commander in chief of 5 ships and 45 war junks.

His palace is furnished in the foreign style and many westerners stay there when in Bangkok. He also often visits the European and American residents and they visit him. The ladies of his palace have visited with the American ladies of Bangkok. His eldest son, now 3-4 years old, has been given the name George Washington. His mother, the late Queen, died in 1838. While she lived, the Prince was obliged to prostrate himself before her in the custom of the Thais.

A Siamese prince when travelling in public is escorted by 15 – 20 servants. One carries his sword, one his betelnut box, one his teapot, one his cigar box and tinder, one his watch. Others propel his boat. The sword bearer goes in front of the Prince and all the others walk behind. All the Thais prostrate themselves as before a superior but the Chinese community withhold this sign of veneration and merely stand erect and motionless. This is ignored or made the subject of a joke by the Thai princes. Chow Fah is popular with the Chinese who call him O Che Wang (the Fukienese equivalent of ‘black-tongued king’)

Friend of China 23.6.42 edition

Maulmein report (extract from the Maulmein Chronicle reported in the Singapore Free Press, 12th May):

Many more Shan traders are coming to trade this year. Those Shan states to the north and east of Burma are dependencies of Thailand. The Shan states beyond them are dependencies of Ava & / or China and some few are independent.

The Shan traders bring ponies, silks and lacquerware. They say they have to find new routes to evade obstructions to their trade. They say Chinese merchants also want to trade at Maulmein but are prevented by the Chinese officials at Chiang Mai.[254]

On the right bank of the Salween are the red Karens who assert independence but are often attacked by forces from Ava. The Thai Shans are constantly at war with the Burmese Shans. The red Karens catch members of either group and sell them to the other as slaves. The red Karens say they have applied for the protection of England but received no response. Their country contains huge seams of tin in the hillsides, not the alluvial stuff, but rich tin ore.[255]

The tea plant flourishes in the north east of Burma but the area is so unsettled it could not safely be brought out. We should visit the area annually and try to make friends with the natives.

Editorial – This extract shows our trade is pushing close to the south-western borders of China. Chinese merchants trade at Chiang Mai and, but for the war, would probably come on to Moulmein. It (Moulmein) is a city of 25,000 people who do business with Yunnan, Bangkok and Ava. The area all about is densely populated and the people are intelligent and prosperous. The climate is very comfortable.

Friend of China 30.6.42 edition

The Royal Asiatic Society held a meeting in Hong Kong recently at which the following was noted:

  • Capt Blackwood is leading an expedition to New Guinea hopefully as a preliminary step to colonisation.
  • The relations of Russia with Central Asia are very friendly and prosperous. Orenberg is the centre of these communications which extend to Afghanistan and Sind.

Friend of China 7.7.42 edition

Arrangements are being made in London for a fortnightly overland communication with India.

Friend of China 7.7.42 edition

Experimental cultivation of flax in India has been successful. Flax and hemp grow well there. We should also introduce Ma Bo (the Chinese grass-cloth plant). It would thrive in India and obtain the sort of price that Belgian flax obtains in London; indeed a French source tells us it is superior to flax. Specimens given to French lace manufacturers were said to be suitable for their finest work and M Hebert is successfully cultivating Ma Bo in Southern France.

By introducing flax and hemp, which are Russian staple exports, into India, we aim a blow at Russian aggrandisement in central Asia more severe than the destruction of her fleets or armies.

Friend of China 14.7.42 edition

A terrible storm hit Calcutta on 3rd – 5th July causing much death, damage to property and shipping. 40 ships ran aground or hit each other and were totally lost. Small boats have been completely shattered with contents lost. Two of the new iron steamers went down. The Globe and the Symmetry foundered off Kedgeree with only 5 survivors. A budgerow was swamped and later found to contain four bodies, two of them ladies. Full details are awaited.

Friend of China 21.7.42 edition

Thai trade report – The chief commodities of commerce at Bangkok are sugar, sapan-wood, silk, salt, stic-lac, rice, coconut oil, indigo, ivory, betelnut, beeswax, deerhorn and tigerskin.

The extensive teak forests provide good timber for the developing English communities on the China coast. The trees are 4 – 5 feet diameter at the base and 80 – 100 feet tall. It is the Chinese community who cut them and float them down the rivers.

They would be delighted to load their junks with spars and planks and ship them to China if they knew they would find a market. The port duties on a junk and its cargo are tiny whereas a European ship has an onerous measurement fee to pay.

There are normally 50-60 junks trading from Siam to China annually but our blockade has diminished the number in the last two years. These junks are owned by Chinese in China and Siam and a few by Thais. They sail from Macau, Amoy, Swa Ka (Swatow or Swa Bui perhaps?) and Ningpo and return with mainly sugar, sapan-wood and ivory.

If teak export is encouraged from Thailand we should make a steam- or water-powered saw mill as the present hand sawing that is done in Bangkok is imprecise.

Friend of China 21.7.42 edition

We wrote previously about tin from the Shan States. The Singapore Free Press is drawing attention to alluvial tin from Mergui throughout the Tenasserim provinces and from the Malayan peninsula.

A specimen of tin ore from the Karen country has been analysed by Mr Tremenheere of Moulmein and contains 78% metallic tin. Given the duties, it might be good to import the ore to England and smelt it there, same as we recently started to do with copper (which has become a very profitable venture).

Our Cornish experts in the Stannaries say it would take but little capital transfer to Banca, Malacca and Burma to supply refined tin from there at the cheapest prices in the world.

Friend of China 28.7.42 edition

The Vansittart was completely destroyed by fire on 3rd June whilst at the outer anchorage at Calcutta. Smoke was seen at 2 a.m. coming from a hatch under which the hold contained a cargo of cotton. The fire spread so quickly it is fortunate the crew were able to escape without injury. Only the European carpenter and one other died.

The ship carried 6,000 bales of cotton and valuable shipments of Malwa opium all for China. Both hull and cargo are said to be insured.

Damp baled cotton is notorious for spontaneous combustion.

The Russians have made experiments into spontaneous combustion.

M Georgi roasted 4lbs coffee beans until brown. 2lbs he ground to powder. He then separated them and tightly tied whole beans and powder in linen bags. After ¾ hr the powdered beans burst into flames and burnt to ash.

Vol 15, No 31 – 2nd August 1842

Bombay Times, 11th June 1842 – The Cornwallis has been burnt to the water in Bombay harbour. A few days ago the Vansittart was also destroyed by fire. Each case is attributed to arson by discontented crew-members.

Both ships were about to leave and had been fully loaded. In each case the Lascar crews had just received six months pay in advance. A very large reward is being offered for information.[256]

The Cornwallis is an 800 ton teak ship belonging to Khimchand Motichand. It was almost fully-laden with cotton at the time. The ship, freight and cargo were all insured. The Vansittart carried a cargo of fish maws, shark’s fins, opium and ivory for the Canton market.

(NB – two weeks later the Adelaide was allegedly torched as well. It was also fully laden and about to depart Bombay)

Vol 15, No 31 – 2nd August 1842

Sir George G de H Larpent, the East India trader, has ‘retired’ from the representation (MP) of Nottingham

Friend of China 4.8.42 edition

The recent typhoon at Calcutta caused 6 million rupees of damage. 41 pukka and 367 tiled buildings were destroyed. 625 boats have been lost. Of the trading ships 3 are lost, 10 blown ashore and 28 seriously damaged.

Friend of China 4.8.42 edition

40,000 emigrants were sent to New South Wales from the United Kingdom last year (c. £900,000 in fares to the India Company if the emigrants pay the same transportation rate paid by Government for banishees.)

Vol 15, No 33, 16th August 1842

Naval & Military Gazette:

The evils arising from the sale of cadetships in the Company’s army have increased. An infantry cadetship now costs £700. We protest.

If it was legal it would appear to equate with the sale of commissions in the British army, but in a cadetship, a solemn declaration is made that no monies have changed hands. Both the parties involved know this is false. What sort of impression does this give to new entrants to the Company’s army?

Friend of China 18.8.42 edition

Capt MacAlpine of the Ann struck a rock in the Basselan Straits on 15th June and was taking 12″ per hour but hoped to make Java with his cargo of tea.[257]

Friend of China 8.9.42 edition

The large fleet that the Thai King sent against Cochin China has returned to Bangkok without attaining its objects. The King is displeased. He is said to intend to fit out another larger expedition.

Friend of China, 8th September 1842

Java Tea – The Dutch government has been encouraging tea farming and has brought qualified people from China to organise it. The tea plant thrives in Java. When 4 years old it is 3-4′ high and ready for picking. The government has established a factory at Batavia for curing, classifying and packing the tea. It receives the semi-dried leaf from the plantations and fires them (the skilled part) at Batavia. Its start-up costs make the product expensive.

All types of tea come from the same plant. The green teas are picked and fired. Once heated they are pressed very tightly and worked by hand to exude an oily substance. The black teas are dried in the sun between picking and firing. This makes the colour darker. The only difference is that the black is more dry than the green.

Here in Hong Kong we are familiar with tea production as we have recently imported sun-dried tea from the coast and prepared it locally for consumption. The Dutch product is not cheap but its flavour is fresh and it was very popular at the Leipzig Fair where the dealers, particularly the Russian merchants, seemed to prefer it to China. The Dutch have exported 100,000 lbs already and in 2 years they expect to be exporting 2,000,000 lbs a year.

Here is the report from our Java correspondent:

We left Batavia and travelled into the mountains passed an active volcano to Tsanjor (probably Cianjur), about 70 miles away. We passed a garden producing a fine sort of cochineal which is as good as the South American product. From Tsanjor we travelled 35 miles to Bandung where the government grows coffee. About 100,000 piculs is harvested annually.

14 miles further on is the Hoflands estate, about 1,000 sq mls of land with a low population of tenant farmers largely employed in coffee production. About 4,500,000 coffee bushes are planted. The estate used to belong to Sir Charles Forbes and his group of investors but was sold a few years ago for £250,000. There is also 1,000 acres under sugar cane and tea is grown on the slopes. The resident natives produce much rice. After paying management costs, and ignoring coffee and sugar profits, the new owners get a nett 10% per annum on their investment from the rental income. This estate is not only valuable but it is readily improvable.

We travelled on via Sumedang and Karong Sambon (?) and crossed the river that separates Java from Sunda. The natives at the Sunda-side speak a different language and dress differently. This is the Cheribon (Cirebon) district and it is flat, well-cultivated and rich. The roads and houses are good.

Contrast the report of Mr Crawford, who came here 28 years ago, which is cited in Sir Stamford Raffles’ ‘History of Java’:

“after Batavia and Bantam (Banten), Cheribon is the next most badly effected by bad management. The people display a careless indifference to the pursuit of gain and are indolent and ignorant. This is the result of forty years of mismanagement and oppression under the vicious colonial policy of the Dutch.”

Last week we mentioned Java tea. It is packed in chests made of wood of no odour. They use much thicker inner lining of lead-sheet than the Chinese. The higher quality is due to these two causes. A specimen was submitted to a taster here who valued it at 40 Taels per picul.

Friend of China 22.9.42 edition

Agricultural production on Java (continued):

  • Coffee is a staple crop on Java. It is planted in rows, each plant 4 – 5 feet apart and the rows 8 feet wide. They don’t prune them to 4 – 4½ feet high like in the West Indies but let them grow to 10 – 15 feet height. At the government garden near Bandung they are 25 feet high but 8 – 12 feet seems to be preferred. The berries only grow on the new shoots. The Javans use long bamboo steps resting against the shrubs to climb up and harvest the fruits. The first crop is in May and crops are taken-off continuously through the summer to October. The trees need shade from direct sun and protection from wind. Dadap trees are planted in every 3rd row to provide slight shade and protection, Plantains are also used. Each bush can produce ½ – ¾ lb of dried coffee beans. The fruit is cured by sun-drying then milling to remove the husk. The mill has hard wooden wheels powered by a buffalo. Cost of production in Java is said to be 12 – 14 Dutch florins a picul while sale price is 20-27 florins.
  • The government indigo factories are at Cheribon. Production started 10 years ago. The local indigo plant is superior to the Bengal variety in colour. It is called tom by the Javans and tarum by the Sundas. The factories are small and little investment has been made but the quality of the product is excellent, quite equal to the very best Indian marks. Unfortunately, one chest is often of different quality to another and this uncertainty reduces overall value.
    The plant they use is the one Stamford Raffles described as tom ménir. It is propagated by cuttings and gives three crops a year. It grows to 3-4 feet. It flowers without seed. The leaves, flowers and smell are the same as Bengal indigo. It is cut in small branches when ripe and the stem then throws out new shoots which are again cut. This procedure permits three cuttings from the same plant each season.
    The Dutch grow indigo in paddy fields. They put the cuttings in the moist ground and they invariably shoot. Nothing more is done except to occasionally hoe away the weeds. Its so easy. Planting is done when the rains cease in May. The first harvest is taken in July. One acre is said to provide 150 lbs dried indigo. This season the crop totals 8,000 – 9,000 chests of 250 lbs each. The government is a little concerned that using paddy will reduce the rice crop but indigo is so much more valuable the farmers cannot resist. The natives grow indigo for the government under contract and receive 1 guilder per lb (about 1/8d). They have to do all the processing themselves for this price. There are some other quite slight expenses and overall we doubt Europeans could farm indigo at the same low cost as the Dutch government. Sir Stamford said 25 years ago that: 

    “the climate, soil and society of Java are particularly suited to indigo cultivation. With skilful manufacture it could become an important export”

    In Bengal the monsoons are so destructive they reduce the growing season for indigo to a few months of the year.

Friend of China 22.9.42 edition

The currency of Java is in a mess. Only paper money and copper are used. Silver is so scarce it trades at a 25% premium. Government issues notes through the Bank of Java and the circulation is about £600,000 although the bank’s issued capital is only £200,000 (much of which has been recently lost as bad debts).

The economic problem results from Dutch insistence on sending all produce back to the Netherlands. Until they practice free trade and permit foreigners to invest, it will be the same. Everything is paid for in this depreciated paper currency. Civilians get their salaries paid in copper cash.

It is sad that a place so rich in natural resources should be deficient in capital. It’s the dead hand of monopoly and the consequent absence of a spirit of free enterprise. As an example there is a single steamer monopolising the route between Batavia and Surabaya and it cannot pay for its own fuel.

Friend of China 6.10.42 edition

The ‘Bengal Hurkaru’ reports a 300 ton 280 HP iron steamship is to ply between Calcutta and Singapore. It will carry 12 passengers and 100 tons of cargo. The voyage will take 8 days. It will make 10 – 12 round trips each year. It is expected to cost 200,000 Rupees to build and the costs have already been subscribed in Calcutta with a proportion reserved for Straits investors. Mackey & Co are the scheme promoters. The one-way passenger fare is expected to be 360 Rupees.

Friend of China 20.10.42 edition

Asian News:

  • Lord Ellenborough is said to have determined on an immediate advance of our punitive force on Kabul.[258]
  • Several horrible murders and robberies have been committed in the Straits Settlements.

Friend of China 10.11.42 edition

The financial difficulties of South Australia, which are attributed to the nomination of an incompetent Governor, have now been relieved by an Act of Parliament. This fine colony will now soon attain a sufficient population to warrant its having representative institutions.

Friend of China 24.11.42 edition

A note from Sydney says the settlers resent not being permitted to import Indian labourers in the same way as the sugar growers of Mauritius have been allowed to do under Lord Stanley’s recent Bill.

We cannot see why they should be treated differently. The Sydney authorities are now offering a bounty on immigration from Africa and China.

Friend of China 22.12.42 edition

Letter from a foreign merchant in Bangkok, 16th September 42:

The King controls the sugar trade here. He sends his own fleet of ships 30 miles up the river to meet the sugar boats coming down and buys up their entire cargo. This is resented by the boatmen as the king pays when he feels like it and even forgets his debts whereas if they can get the cargo passed the King’s men to Bangkok they can sell it for cash.

The King has recently arrested 50 monks for intoxication and perversion of the sacred texts. Two are sentenced to execution by swallowing molten lead (the Thai penalty for slandering the Buddha). The others are to be disgraced for the remainder of their lives.

Friend of China 29.12.42 edition

Report from Australia:

Both van Dieman’s Land and New South Wales are in economic depression due to high interest rates and a poor wool harvest. Immigration to New South Wales has been suspended and is very limited to van Dieman’s Land, at least until things improve.

Some whaling ships have returned to Hobart with little oil. The crews say the Americans have occupied the best fisheries and do not permit our competition.

Friend of China 5.1.43 edition

  • Australian trade report – exports for the year 1.10.41 – 30.9.42:
    Colonial goods 

    British goods re-exported

    Foreign goods re-exported

    £577,500 (of which wool = £437,000) 



  • A memorial from the settlers of Australia to Lord Stanley is noted – it requests that coolies may be imported from India.
  • The French have possessed the Marquesas Islands. They have now also planted their flag in Tahiti saying Queen Pomare and her chiefs asked them to do so.
  • The copper ores on Great Barrier Island at the mouth of the Thames River in New Zealand are to be commercially exploited.

(Editor – the copper assays are encouraging but to be profitable in such an out-of-the-way place, the copper content will either have to be twice that of Cornwall copper ore or the vein be more extensive. The New Zealanders will need very handy loading facilities.)

Friend of China 2.2.43 edition

The Spanish have authorised the first newspaper at Manila – the Seminario Filipino. The Editor says our treaty with China is good. Before Chinese lived isolated in China, now they will live in the world, he says. The prestige of Chinese power is destroyed. The world can see how weak this colossal Empire really is. The Spanish consul at Canton, Sr Halcon, has reported the peace treaty and it is published in the Manila Chamber’s circular to members.

Editor – We hope the commercial advantages we have won here for maritime nations will be reciprocated in Spain and elsewhere.

Friend of China 16.2.43 edition

The Penang Gazette says coal has been discovered in the Lancawi Islands and specimens have been sent to Dr Cantor for analysis. The Lancawi Group is about 60 miles north west of Penang near the Kedah coast. It consists of three large islands and many smaller ones. Between the two largest islands at their southern end is a safe port called Bass Harbour.

Friend of China 16.2.43 edition

The Seminario Filipino reports that part of the garrison of Manila rebelled and tried to capture the city’s fort but was driven off by the artillery men inside. It appears to have been a nationalistic or patriotic revolt by Filipinos rather than Spaniards. Prices current, freight and exchange rates are unaffected.

Friend of China 16.2.43 edition

New Zealand now has the Auckland Times. It is printed on a mangle according to the Editor who, when discussing previous issues, repeatedly refers to ‘in our last mangle …..’

Actually it seems the New Zealand authorities are trying to suppress the newspaper and seize the press, hence the editor’s amusing description of his printing machine.

He says opposition to the government is supported by the newspaper’s owner at Port Nicholson (Wellington).

Friend of China, 16.2.43 edition

The indefatigable Dr Montgomery Martin has published his opinions in 1842 on New Zealand. He titles his work “the effects of bad management on a good colony.”

The home government made a mistake in appointing inexperienced men to rule this country. British colonial administration is quite autocratic and requires wise and experienced men to conduct it fairly. To have entrusted the government of New Zealand to the officers and crew of a man-of-war was a mistake.

The second bay of Auckland has been called locally Official Bay because government officials have seized title to the lots and occupied it almost exclusively. M/s Mathew, Rough, Fisher, Coates and Spain, Dr Johnson and Capt Richmond all live there. The third bay remains in government hands and has not been offered for sale. The fourth bay is called Cooper’s Bay because Cooper (now Collector of Customs) and Mr Clarke (Protector of Aborigines) have assigned the entire bay to themselves (Mr Churton the Episcopalian owns a small lot in the same bay). The fifth bay (called Iniquity Bay or Judge’s Bay) is in the hands of the Judge and Attorney General who have exhibited extreme cupidity in appropriating this lovely bay to themselves. The remaining officials are the Postmaster General and the Surveyor General. They are also speculating in land but their selections have been poor and will not diminish the prospects of the colony.

Apart from taking all the best land, the officials have involved themselves in trade. Some are brick-making and others are pig and cattle dealers. Some issue government contracts to their (non-government) friends with whom they are in business partnership. They were enabled to do this by not publishing any government contracts for tender until very recently.

When the settlers complained about all this and published broadsheets at Bay of Islands and Auckland to air their grievances, both papers were suppressed.

Friend of China, 23.2.43 edition

Egypt is in fearful trouble from a cow disease that has killed off over 200,000 animals valued at £2 millions. Worse, the cows are used as draught animals customarily and their absence has caused agriculture to stop. The Pasha has ordered his cavalry horses to work his own fields and has seized any healthy cows he can still find to assist.

This year we have had an economic recession, an earthquake in Haiti, the Hamburg fire and now this ….

Friend of China 2.3.43 edition

The Seminario Filipino reports the army revolt at Manila has failed. The leader was publicly executed by garrotte while his followers, about one hundred Filipinos, were fusilladed.

Friend of China 9.3.43 edition

Australia wants to export salt beef. Perhaps they could use Mr Payne’s ingenious device which evacuates the air and seals the meat within a metal can thus preserving the contents.

Quotations in the parliamentary Blue Book reveal Australian beef production is greater than the Cape (of Good Hope), which could produce more cheaply if only the natives can be encouraged to work.

USA and Buenos Aires can both supply beef to England at prices comparable to Australia, but Sydney has her domestic market and the markets of New Zealand and Ile de France (Mauritius) as well as provisioning the whaling vessels and other shipping that calls.

Friend of China 16.3.43 edition

The occupation of the Marquesas Islands by the French has excited people in Europe. It is said the island chiefs agreed to French protection only because they had offended the Americans whom they feared would attack them. Surely the French and the Americans can sort this out.

The French bombardment of Barcelona has maddened all Europe.

Friend of China, 30.3.43 edition

The Russian naturalist Professor Lehmann has died. It is hoped his manuscripts have been preserved and his travels in Samarkand and elsewhere in central Asia will be published.

Friend of China 30.3.43 edition

It is astonishing that Britain is the only major European country to not have a consul at Manila. The French have a Consul-General there who is raised over their Consuls in Indo-China and China.

This anomaly in British diplomatic coverage arises because Manila fell within the geographical limits of the India Company’s charter. Now that has been abolished we should really have a representative in a country with which we do so much trade. Manila is also the city to which so many of our nationals, shipwrecked in the Sulu Sea, are brought.

Friend of China, 30.3.43 supplement

Letter from Oahu dated 4th February 1843:

Mr Charlton the British consul to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii et al) left here last September for England via Mexico to explain to the home government the great potential of these islands. The present administration is a mockery and he will mention British grievances. Every British subject except the representative of the Hudson’s Bay Company has signed the memorial of complaint to the British government. That company, having neglected the national interest, now seeks to acquire influence detrimental to sound British policy.

Charlton has done well and the attempts of the Hudson’s Bay Company to deprecate his work are unjust. Capt Lord George Paulet of HMS Carysfort has been sent to put matters right. We hope he will take possession of the islands or we fear the French, who have already seized Tahiti, will do so.

Friend of China 4.5.43 edition

The French are said to have occupied the Marquesas in contemplation of the effects that the opening of the proposed Panama Canal will have on British trade from Australia and New Zealand. Clearly an enemy in the Marquesas would straddle the trade route and could do our trade considerable damage. Many ships going to / from Sydney stop at Bali and Lombok. We ourselves ship rice and other agricultural produce from that area annually and we have whaling interests nearby yet British men-of-war never cruise in these seas. That is a shame as the South East Asian island natives hate the Dutch and would willingly exchange them for us if we promised them protection.

If Hong Kong soon becomes the base for an Admiral’s station as expected, then patrols can proceed from here throughout the eastern seas.

Friend of China, 18.5.43 edition

The P&O Shipping Company has offered to provide a steamship ferry to India if it can have the mail contract. We have discussed this with an expert and we believe there should be two routes – 1/ Calcutta / China and 2/ Bombay / Madras / China.

The steamer from Suez leaves on the 24th of each month. The steamer from Calcutta leaves on the 14th of each month. The Bombay / Suez steamer leaves Suez on 24th and Bombay on the 1st arriving back at Suez on about 8th each month.

P&O propose that the China steamer should leave Bombay on 10th, arrive Colombo on 15th collect the mail left by the direct Suez / Calcutta steamer, leave on 17th for Trincomalee and arrive Madras 19th. Leaving 21st to arrive Penang 28th and Singapore 2nd.

The Calcutta/Suez steamer arrives Calcutta 18th so Calcutta / China steamer should leave Calcutta on about 21st, Maulmein 24th, Penang 28th, Singapore 2nd.

The steamer leaving Vina on 18th – 20th each month arrives Singapore 30th, leaving 2nd, Penang 4th, Maulmein 7th, Calcutta 11th in time for the steamer to Suez on 14th.

(The editor thus calculates a complex schedule for an inter-linking service with the London / Suez / Bombay overland route.)

If P&O carry cargo they could easily attract some of the opium traffic. Also about £4 millions in treasure is repatriated each year. P&O could get most of this. The present freight rate for silver / gold is 1% ad valorem.

In the N E monsoon the steamers should go via Palawan or Celebes Sea and Manila. In the S W monsoon they should go down the western side of the China Sea

Editor – China traders say steel hulls cause damage to opium by conducting electricity. It is necessary to have non-conducting bulkheads to freight the Drug.[259]

Friend of China, 25.5.43 edition

The Sandwich Islands were discovered by Capt Cook in 1778. He was killed on Hawaii the following year. England has the better claim to occupancy of these islands for this reason.

The group comprises about ten islands midway between Hong Kong and America. The population is 160,000, half of which is on Oahu – the island of the King and locus of the capital. Honolulu has 24,000 people and over 8,000 live in the town. The climate is comfortable and many are urging a British colony on one or other of the islands. Everyone agreed but it was thought the protection of the British flag was necessary first. With the late cession, this difficulty is removed. We hope this colonial undertaking will now proceed as the Sandwich Islands are lovely.

At present the islands are visited by whalers for repairs and provisions. They constitute a half-way house between Asia and California. According to Stewart’s Visit to the South Seas, they received 125 American ships in 1829-30 with a total tonnage of 40,000 tons. They produce tropical fruits, vegetables, cocoa and sugar. The main export has been sandalwood but the forests are exhausted and not much of it remains to be felled. The trade with China is small – only some silk and chow-chow goods. The natives are mild and docile. Many understand English and Christianity is widely professed.

Friend of China 25.5.43 edition

Annexation of the Sandwich Islands to the British Empire:

The British flag now flies over the Sandwich Islands.

The Americans have contrarily recognised their independence conditionally. They say any interference with the native government will draw American resentment. So America and no doubt France will both be angry about this British annexation. We hope the British will be firm. The islands should not continue under the missionaries who have most recently solicited a theocratic Constitution from the King.

We (the Editor) have now seen “the official correspondence up to 3rd March 1843 relating to the provisional cession of the Sandwich Islands”. The documents say Capt Lord George Paulet arrived in HMS Carysfort at Oahu in February and declared his visit was to protect British subjects and support the British Resident who has been repeatedly insulted by government servants. He said he would only communicate with the King in person. He demanded:

1/ the immediate removal of the attachment on the property of Mr Charlton, the British Representative.

2/ Reparations for his heavy losses.

3/ acknowledgement of Mr Simpson’s right to deputise for Mr Charlton.

4/ a guarantee that no British subject will be imprisoned or fettered unless accused of a crime recognised in England as a felony, and

5/ sundry other minor points.

Copies of these demands were given to Capt Long of the USS Boston, then at Honolulu, and he was told that an attack would be commenced on the town the next day if the British ultimatum had not been accepted. Kamahameha III said it was impossible for him to meet the demands (he is a tool of the missionaries). He then ceded the islands to Paulet on behalf of Queen Victoria.

Paulet proclaimed the provisional cession of the islands; the British flag to be hoisted on each island; natives to receive the protection and privileges of British colonists; commission for the government of the islands to be instituted.

The papers also note that the French consul M Jules Dudoit declined to lay his accreditation before Paulet’s government commission resulting in his non-recognition.

A notice requiring notification of all land claims has been published.

An offer to sell liquor licences at $150 each seems a bit precipitant (the missionaries had forbidden alcohol) but it is said the prohibition of its sale is illegal under British law (this might be one of the grounds of Kamahameha III’s willingness to forego control).

Friend of China, 8.6.43 edition

Letter to the Editor from Per Fas (an American):

You say the Sandwich Island missionaries are ignorant fanatics. You have spent too long in the turmoil of London, too influenced by the Quarterly Review.[260] You are ignorant of these men and what they have done.

It is 22 years since the first missionaries arrived in the Sandwich Islands. There was no government, the weak were oppressed by the strong, they had no written language and no education. Now their language has a written form (in English letters), there are 335 schools with 18,034 students are enrolled. They have made their own Constitution securing to each the fruits of his own industry. They are now a well-organised society with laws and rights.

The missionaries have not created a theocracy “repugnant to sound policy and liberal principles” as you say. The French Catholic missionaries are pressing the people against their wishes to celebrate high mass – you say nothing about it. The commanders of the French frigate L’Artimise and the British frigate Carysford have both authorised the sale of liquors but this is small matter compared with Paulet’s seizure of the islands for Britain.

This is as disgusting as the recent partition of Poland.

Friend of China 15.6.43 edition

According to the Penang Gazette of 13th May 43, HMS Dido has taken Mr Brooke to Borneo as a passenger and will perform station duty there. This will benefit our influence in that quarter.

Friend of China, 29.6.43 supplement

All that England has gained from the Friendly and Society Islands (so named because the girls are friendly and social) has been yams and fresh water for our ships’ crews. Now with the presence of Admiral du Petit Thouars at the Court of Queen Pomare, the whalers and missionaries have managed to create a sort of semi-civilisation.

Otaheite (Tahiti), known to the missionaries as the Isle of Saints, has been renamed by de Bougainville as la nouvelle Cythere (in remembrance of the cult of Aphrodite)

Friend of China 13.7.43 edition

News from the London papers:

  • India is much in the news in London. The success at Hyderabad has been well received but Lord Ellenborough’s policy in Sind is disapproved as he had agreed on appointment that his administration would be pacific.
  • Lady Sale has published her memoir of the Afghanistan fiasco which confirms the worst features of Lt Eyre’s history and has revived popular demand for further enquiry.
  • Sir Robert Peel has commended the Pasha of Egypt for his apparent treason – whilst our forces were blockading Alexandria, he still permitted the British mails to pass overland to / from Suez.
  • The Thomas Grenville was burned in the Bay of Bombay and all her cargo destroyed.
  • The Singapore Free Press reports a terrible storm affecting the entire Bay of Bengal. A long list of damaged vessels from the Indian coast to Penang is shown.

Friend of China 20.7.43 edition

Editorial – On 29th April 1843 the French Prime Minister Guizot said that the new French possessions in Polynesia will be their advanced posts to China.

We have frequently mentioned what good claims the Polynesian islands and our (British) Oregon territory have as advanced posts to China. They form part of the Pacific rim which, with Australia, will become an important trading area. Apparently the government has finally agreed to make a survey of the Columbia River Territory. The French occupation of the Marquesas Islands and Otaheite (Tahiti) may encourage our government to annex Borneo and the Sandwich Islands. France has held the Marquesas for as many months as Britain has held Hong Kong in years but the French parliament has already voted £240,000 for permanent buildings and steamships for the colony. What have we got?

Friend of China 10.8.43 supplement

Sydney – The United Company of Merchants Trading to China held a third sale of teas on Thursday of the cargoes ex Australasian Packet, Lord Eldon and Trinidad.

Some buyers turned up but none made bids in spite of the auctioneer’s best efforts. The tea wholesalers say they will never again attend an auction of the United Company.

Friend of China, 10.8.43 supplement

The Bay of Honolulu on Woahoo (Oahu) is like a European harbour. In 1833, 26,000 tons of shipping passed through. At most times there were 50 foreign ships anchored there from America, England, Spain, Russia and Otaheite. Above the bay is a fortress mounting 40 guns. The town is laid out in squares. The streets are fenced and the houses built of wood. There is a regular police force; two hotels, two billiards halls and a dozen taverns. A British and American consul work there. 900 hundred seminaries instruct 50,000 children in reading.

Friend of China 17.8.43 edition

HMS Semarang (Capt Sir Thomas Belcher) struck a rock at high water whilst navigating the Sarawak river in Borneo en route to Mr Brooke’s settlement. The ship has been seriously damaged. As the tide fell the ship went over and filled. The admiral here has dispatched the steamer Vixen to assist. The Semarang was supposed to survey the China Seas. The Royalist, Mr Brooke’s schooner, is in attendance.

Mr Brooke’s colony is progressing. The native residents approve the suppression of slaving and piracy and welcome the incentives to trade.

Friend of China 24.8.43 supplement

C Alex Challaye has been posted eleve consul to Egypt from China by Guizot, Minister for Foreign Affairs, in a letter dated 14th March 1843.

Friend of China, 14.9.43 supplement

Captain Lord George Paulet of the Royal Navy took possession of the Sandwich Islands for Britain but English merchants have no interests in these islands. The Hudson’s Bay Company, in whose Chartered bailiwick they are sited, is averse to occupation.

Sir George Simpson, the Governor of the Company, says he accepted the offer to be envoy of the islands solely to argue for and obtain their independence at the Court of St James.

Lord George Paulet contrarily, has put himself under the direction of the acting Consul who is reputed to work against his own government.

If England takes over these islands it is America that will mainly suffer. 200 U S ships arrive here annually. Many Americans own property in the islands to a value of $2,520,500 in 1843. The Americans have developed the islands and have most to lose from British usurpation. They have developed sugar farming and export it by the shipload. Their whaling fleet uses the island for refitting and supplies. No other country has so many ships visiting.

If a Panama canal is opened, the islands will become strategically important. It will be interesting to see what America does but it is unlikely that the home government will ratify Paulet’s annexation. The value it seems to see in colonies is as places providing patronage.[261]

Friend of China, 14.9.43 edition

The French and American press are disgusted with Britain for occupying the Sandwich Islands. They should note that this occupation is professedly provisional and may not be ratified by parliament.

Friend of China, 21.9.43 Edition

Report from The Spectator of New Zealand as reprinted in the Bombay Times

The Chinese buy green stone at up to £1,500 per ton. The south island has a green stone that the natives call poonamor which is a talc slate. A ship from Wellington called Royal Mail has sailed down the west coast of the south island to Milford Haven to collect a shipment. Mr Deans, one of our most enterprising colonists, has just returned from Milford Haven and reported the above facts. He says the Royal Mail has already loaded 10 tons of green stone.

Editor – This report misled many traders. The consignment of New Zealand green stone arrived here and the Chinese found it almost valueless. New Zealand has many valuable minerals but we doubt it will be commercially expedient to export any of them. The most valuable product for the foreseeable future is flax which will soon be in demand in China.

Friend of China 21.9.43 edition

Bombay newspapers report frequent violations of the navigation laws. The American Brig Princess, renamed the Petrel, arrived with a cargo from China. Any ship owned by a British subject may fly British colours and you can then buy a pass from the Company here that entitles you to the privileges of British registration. The Petrel flew a British flag and bought the pass and thus landed her cargo here. Actually foreign-owned ships can only re-export from here.

Friend of China 28.9.43 edition

The Temperance Advocate of 27th June 43 reports that 26th April 42 was the day that King Kamehameha III and the Kings of all the other Sandwich islands jointly signed the total abstinence pledge.

On the first anniversary Kamehameha brought from his cellars the remaining stock of wine in his possession which had lain there untouched for a year. He asked what should be done with it. The suggestion to use it for drying paint was not widely approved. It was then agreed to pour it all into the sea.

Friend of China 12.10.43 supplement

The Moffatt (Gilbert), just arrived from Bali, reports the Dutch government at Batavia has hoisted its national flag on Bali, apparently in a claim of sovereignty over the Rajah and his people. The Moffatt has brought Java coffee, coconut oil and 14 Bali ponies for auction here (Hong Kong).

Friend of China, 12.10.43 supplement

Lord Ellenborough said the following in a dinner address at the army mess at Dum Dum, Calcutta. It is reported by the Singapore Free Press of 21st September 1843:

I am a great admirer of the army. But the infantry and cavalry officers present should allow me to give first place to the artillery. Their gallantry, exact science and precision of fire conduce to the extraordinary successes of British arms.

The Commander of the Army in India, Sir Hugh Gough, deserves the highest compliments for his forbearance in the war with China, for his sagacity and his clear vision of the ultimate objective. By focusing thus, he neglected many opportunities for personal aggrandisement.

Friend of China 12.10.43 supplement

The King of Siam appears to ignore the terms of the treaty he made with us. When our ships go to Bangkok the King inserts himself between our merchants and the Thai exporters. The exactions have risen to the point that our trade will soon stop.

Recently the Good Success called at Bangkok for sugar and made contracts with the merchants but they did not supply it. Appeals to the treaty were ignored. The only sugar available was from the King at 15% over the contracted rates with the merchants.

We should send a frigate.

Friend of China 19.10.43 edition

The Calcutta papers report a sale of Assam tea by Indian government and native growers. Some of the government pekoes were rated good but the rest was poor. The shippers of teas from the last Calcutta sale lost money.

Previously the government was reportedly intent on vacating the market and transferring its tea estates to the Assam Tea Company but these sales suggest otherwise.

Friend of China, 26.10.43 Edition

The barque British Isle, 60 days out of Sydney, reported the arrival of HMS Vindictive at Tahiti. The captain, Sir Troup Nicholas, finding the French flag flying, had it pulled down and sent his 1st lieutenant to England for instructions. This will revive all the warlike acrimony of the Thiers party in Paris against Britain.

Friend of China, 23.11.43 supplement

Alexandria 20th June 1843 – The overland route is now operating satisfactorily. Instead of two there are now five ferries on the canal section. Two steam tugs and 48 horses provide the motive power. On the Nile section, instead of one there are now four steam boats and the three new ones are particularly comfortable.

The wretched 80 horses on the desert section have been replaced by 250 horses. A relay horse team is now at every station house (every 10 miles) instead of every 40 – 60 miles. The vans and harnesses are well serviced and the station houses are most comfortable.

An English couple resides at the principal bungalow in the middle of the desert crossing. They attend to your needs. All the staff at the other station houses are more civil and extortion has stopped.

Anyone can now cross Egypt in perfect safety and without delay. This is all due to the Pasha. The Transit Company and P&O propose to soon combine their operations to provide an even better service.

Friend of China 19.3.44 edition

Letter to the Editor from George Duddell of Hong Kong complaining against the Dutch envoy J H Koopmar:

He arrived in Bali early in 1840 in the schooner Dudo and raised the Dutch flag on the west beach of the island, called Rhinoceros Bay (it was here that the rhinoceros that the Dutch gave to the Rajah of Bali was landed). At the end of the same year the envoy returned in the Dudo bringing representatives of many nearby islands to see the rhinoceros.

By early 1841 the well known firm (Burd & Co) that trades to Bali, and which had hitherto always hoisted the Danish flag over its store, ceased to do so. The Dutch envoy then hoisted the Dutch flag over the Bali ports Oarangagsan, Blileling and others. He made a treaty with the Rajah, written in Pidgin, which at Article 10 says (edited) ‘I, the Rajah, will not give up this island to any other white man as it is yours (Dutch) as well as mine’.

A treaty regarding shipwrecked vessels was enacted at end 1842 only after the great Dutch ship Overysal, carrying a complete steam-powered sugar refinery, was lost. Koopmar’s treaties pre-dated that event and were not a response to it.

The envoy is represented on Bali by the staff of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). In January 1842 the Company made a treaty for the taxing of all trade entering Bali through its one safe harbour at Bali Badung (in the south of the island). Onerous anchorage fees and all sorts of duties are charged to non-Dutch ships under this treaty. This is reflected in the increased price of Bali rice now being brought to China.

Friend of China 23.3.44 edition

Letter to the Editor – English tonnage involved in carrying Bali rice to China is extensive. We should note Duddell’s comments about the Dutch. A naval force should be sent down there. The Royal Navy protects British commercial interests worldwide. In the last 20 years particularly in South America, the Navy has saved much property and lives. Now some Dutch in Bali have been killed. Mr Lange of Burd & Co, who flies the Danish flag, is safe.

An expedition is being sent from Batavia. 300 troops went today to Surabaya where more are collecting. If the Dutch try to annex the island they may be surprised. Those Bali natives are tougher than the Javans.

The Dutch are encouraging the natives throughout the islands to grow sugar and indigo rather than rice. Only Bali and Lombok provide rice sufficient for export. Perhaps that is why the Dutch are taking a foothold in those islands – to control the lucrative rice trade and ensure a supply for their people.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Actually the Dutch force was mainly composed of men of Brabant who were unwilling volunteers and generally disinterested in Dutch aims.
  2. The earlier report indicated Bugis were leaving Rhio for Singapore because that latter port was engrossing all the trade.
  3. Barlow endeavoured to instil some economy on his officers provoking his ridicule as ‘the only Governor-General to diminish British territory during his administration.’
  4. This is the first mention of William Jardine in the newspaper. He features prominently in the China and Opium chapters.
  5. Dwarka is one of the most ancient and holy cities of the Hindus. It is mentioned in the Mahabharat. It is located at the mouth of the Gulf of Kutch. This invasion, the negotiation with the Sindhis and the hostility towards Miraj, which have all been mentioned recently, may be related to the trade in Malwa opium which is finding its way effortlessly to Canton and devaluing the Company’s monopoly of the Ganges supply. Originally opium from native states came through Goa and Madras and was marketed at Macau whereas the Company’s opium was auctioned at Calcutta and marketed at Whampoa at this time. The commercial threat was due to the Marathas selling at lower prices than the Company thus giving their Portuguese and Parsee customers more flexibility. The smuggling trade route was driven further and further north by the Company’s territorial acquisitions in the Deccan and was eventually by caravan up to Pali near Jodhpur, across the desert to Hyderabad, down the Indus and by ship to Damaun for trans-shipment to Macau. Owens 1934 work ‘British Opium Policy in China and India’ is still the authority on opium.
  6. It has been mentioned before but worth restating that it is a fundamental and consistent policy of the Company’s government to defeat all those neighbours it goes to war with. Failure to do so is expected to make all the previously defeated peoples less governable.
  7. The Agency Houses must charge a fee for commission on sale of tickets. On this occasion M/s Shotton Malcolm & Co wins the tender and charges 108 Rupees per ticket
  8. There was a cantonment at Fattyghur and many of the Company’s gun carriages were made there too.
  9. Diamonds were solely sourced from India at this time and were not much valued being hardly distinguishable from quartz. Their popularity was stimulated by discovery of sources in South Africa and Russia and by skilful marketing.
  10. The Viceroy, Conde de Rio Pardo (Diogo de Sousa), has been a prudent administrator for the five years he has held the office but his problem stems from the revolution in Portugal. Rio Pardo took refuge in Bombay and left for Rio de Janeiro the following year. See Danvers ‘the Portuguese in India’.
  11. It is interesting to note that in all her important wars – with Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler – Britain was willing to expend her last penny and her last soldier before conceding defeat. It appears she would always chose annihilation before defeat. It may be characteristic of island peoples – the Japanese are the same.
  12. There may be some basis to the Company’s suspicion that Editors write letters to themselves. Benjamin Franklin candidly admitted it. The London Editors likewise seem always able to publish supporting letters for their policies.
  13. Arab horses were one of the commodities traded at Calicut for millennia. Chinese junks used to come round for supply on the summer monsoon.
  14. These half-chests are a response to requests of Chinese distributors who find it easier to carry small balls of the Drug into their country. By influencing the distributor, Company opium may be made preferable to Malwa, in spite of its cost.
  15. A development of M Chappe’s semaphore system invented in the Revolutionary War
  16. The import of this letter is the huge number of senior army officers on leave for one reason or another, many of them more or less residing in England.
  17. Canning represents Liverpool in the Commons.
  18. The table deals with CiCs separately from Council members – it appears the London government supposes the Company’s Presidency Councils are civilian, as they were expected to be after the army rebellion in Madras
  19. This is a reference to a shipment of smuggled Malwa opium. The market is at Indore but the Drug is carried by various routes to Damaun for trans-shipment to the ocean carrier. The Singapore Governor is pro-trade to increase the value of his colony as the best assurance it is not handed-over to the Dutch
  20. The patronage of these places is also with the British ministry.
  21. The jewels they had given him on obtaining his former agreement to exclude all other Europeans.
  22. It could not have happened with George III – an indication of the transfer of power from Monarchy to Minister.
  23. On his return trip to England Buckingham, who is a delightful source of provocative ideas, proposes to establish a ‘passenger-only’ single ship service between England and India. He will own half the shares and the Captain and officers the rest. The holds will contain the animals to be eaten en voyage.
  24. This promoted the Anglo-Indian John Palmer’s business at Hyderabad. The European merchants are excluded from direct trade in the interior.
  25. The import of treasure is not explained but is most likely the dividends from shares in silver mining in South America owned by Spanish residents of Philippines.
  26. A fundamental benefit of friendship with China was the provision of this Almanac, which was the work of first Muslim and later Christian astronomers at Peking. It provided the dates for planting and festivals.
  27. Diponegoro was captured in 1830 and exiled whereupon the insurrection ended.
  28. The India Company has had a simple visual telegraph operating between the three continental Presidencies for the last ten years. It is said that information at Bombay can be received at Calcutta within a day in clear weather.
  29. Crawfurd’s British embassy in 1822 found their shoes had disappeared and had to hobble about barefoot for the rest of the day
  30. Hog Lane, within the foreign enclosure at Canton, is where foreigners go for paintings, tortoise shell items, sandalwood fans, umbrellas, etc.
  31. This sentence reveals China’s duty to protect its vassal Annam from Cochin China.
  32. Queen Elizabeth’s ambassador to Venice and Bohemia.
  33. Hirado Island, off Nagasaki – the place where the Portuguese and later the Dutch had both earlier established connections with Japan
  34. The wealth that Portugal took from Japan was immense. Japan assigned the same value to gold and silver as they both required a similar effort to mine and refine. In Europe the ratio of value gold to silver was then about 1:14. Del Mar in Money and Civilisation, 1888, estimates that, between 1545 – 1624, the Portuguese took from Japan about 250 tons of gold and 500 tons of silver. It was the source of Macau’s fabled wealth.
  35. Dowsett was reportedly killed on Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, in early June 1834.
  36. Better known in his former incarnation in these pages as Charles Grant.
  37. A term used in Sind, Gujerat and the Punjab denoting a Senate with judicial functions for the resolution of disputes, applicable to all sorts of popular groupings. Punchayets were the protectors of local culture – the caste system, etc., – and underwrote the strength of Parsee exclusivity. In the villages of India, the village elders formed a punchayet and provided self-government in so far as the higher governments permitted.
  38. This is Charles Vane, the 3rd Marquess.
  39. A perceptive final sentence in light of the Brahmin Mangal Panday’s later contribution to Indian independence.
  40. I believe Tajoum is a former name of Djibouti, one of only two ports on the African Red Sea coast giving access to the interior (the other being Massawa). Djibouti lies on the southern shore of the Gulf of Tajoura, which name is the basis for my belief. This absence of access from the sea appears to have been the main reason the hinterland of Ethiopia survived so long without invasion by Europeans.
  41. He is first cousin of the British merchant statesmen Robert Peel.
  42. This re-organisation is contemporary with the setback in Afghanistan but must be unrelated.
  43. The Romanoffs established serfdom on obtaining the sovereignty of the Russias and continued to maintain it. This war in Circassia, an aspect of Russia’s territorial inflation, continued until 1864 when the Christian population submitted; the rest left.
  44. The north of Thailand was formerly part of China.
  45. The cause of western interest. Many Karens have embraced Christianity.
  46. Apparently a recital of the 1790s problem – the crew get paid in advance, fire the ship and go home.
  47. This is another Ann, nothing to do with the concurrent Taiwan shipwreck in the China chapters
  48. See the Afghanistan chapter for the Company’s failed invasion and subsequent punitive attack.
  49. Misinformation originating with the ship-owners to exclude P&O from the carrying trade and permit owners to work their teak-framed clippers until replacement.
    Misinformation about circumstances in the Far East survived into the 20th century. I remember in my youth stories of people being ‘Shanghai’d’ although, after arrival, I discovered such events were unknown. China was and is one of the safest countries in the world.
  50. This is a reference to John Carr, the Editor replacing Rev Shuck since the first anniversary of the Friend of China. Carr is not a missionary.
  51. Carr’s allegation is made ten years after the great Reform Act.

Comments are closed.