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appeal to it. He went to Borneo, not to conquer tribes or territories, — not to buy up and sell again the industry and products of any country, — not to introduce missionaries, and impose a new faith on people who did not ask for it; but to live among the inhabitants, make their acquaintance, — make friends of them, give them counsel when asked, and guidance exactly as far as they desired it, and no further. He proposed to found their new civilisation on an indigenous and not a foreign basis — on the great laws of human nature as they appeared to the native mind, and by methods which the people themselves should choose. To civilise and elevate some portion of the Malay races by a course opposite to that which commercial, military, and missionary effort had hitherto taken, was the object to which James Brooke devoted his life. He did not overlook the considerations of the importance to England of a firm footing in the Eastern Archipelago, and of the benefits of a thriving commerce with those rich regions: por did he ever deny his own inclination to the exercise of power, any more than his love of adventure : but the presiding idea and engrossing aim was that of raising some Malay race by means of companionship with them, instead of command over them.
The evidence is now before us of what has been done. Mr. St. John, whose work is the fruit of many years' residence in and about Borneo, says of Sir James Brooke's territory:
*The most remarkable thing connected with Sarāwak is the change which has come over the aborigines. From all the accounts I could gather, they were twenty-five years ago in a much more miserable condition than the Meeruts and Bisayas, in the neighbourhood of the capital. The country was in a state of complete anarchy, and Malays were fighting against Malays, and Dayaks against Dayaks. Even before the civil war broke out, the condition of the latter was miserable in the extreme: they were exposed to every exaction, their children were taken from them, their villages attacked, and often sacked by the Seribas and Sakarang; and hunger approaching to fanine added to their troubles.' (Vol. ii. p. 292.)
Such was their state when their English friend settled among them, and led them against the pirates who rendered their industry fruitless, and kept them in perpetual panic. He taught them to use their rich soil and waters, opened markets for their products, instituted justice sure and cheap, led them up to such morals as their religion and customs adquitted, and made them feel themselves a people. He never interfered with their notions or their habits, while he was always open to their inquiries about his own. By day, he worked in their affairs, and at night he walked with them for hours by the river bank, or sat with them
under the stars, receiving their confidence, listening to their family histories, discussing points of religion and philosophy, or exchanging stories of life in the West and the East, and in the wide realms of fiction. At night, the Malay opens his heart, and gives voice to his imagination; and these nocturnal conferences gave Brooke almost the influence of a prophet or a god. There is a passage in a letter of the wife of the Bishop of Labuan which discloses to us something of the nature and extent of his influence:
• Pa Jenna paid me a visit,' wrote Mrs. McDougall to her son, ‘at Sarāwak, soon after this. The Rajah was in England; but Pa Jenna coming into my sitting-room, immediately espicd his picture hanging against the wall. I was much struck with the expression of involuntary respect which both the face and attitude of this untutored savage assumed, as he stood before the Rajah's picture. He raised the handkerchief from his head, and saluting the picture with a bow, such as a Roman Catholic would make to his patron saint's altar, he whispered to himself, “Our great Rajah!” This is not the only time, Charley, that I have seen how deep in the hearts of the natives lie love and reverence for Sir James Brooke. The least occasion calls it out.'
We have, happily, Sir James Brooke's own account, in a family letter, of his purpose and his mood in his great enterprise. He wrote to his mother as follows, three years and a half after he first set his foot on the shore at Sarāwak:
• You know I am not very boastful, but I will say that I conceive what I have already done with my means is almost wonderful; the people are obedient, and all allow themselves happy. The Dyaks are coming down to the river, and building residences, which for many years they have not had; and they show a degree of confidence which is surprising, and which is only limited by the apprehension that my abode here will be temporary. The Chinese are working, and I hope will succeed in making themselves comfortable in another year; and when once they are established, the country cannot be otherwise than prosperous, for, with many vices, they are an industrious and thrifty race. I do not, however, look to their success as the best criterion of mine ; for if I sought only to enrich myself, the readiest way to do it would be by encouraging these Chinese, and giving them power over the Malays and Dyaks; and, by winking at their oppressions, I might, like the Sultan of Pambas, share largely in their profits. It shall never be said of me that I have entered on this enterprise for the sake of gain ; and whatever the pecuniary temptation may hereafter be, and whatever the superior ease of pursuing a bad instead of a good cause, I believe I am strong enough to hold the latter and reject the former. I m not by nature greedy of money, my own mere personal expenses bave ever been moderate, and as I grow older, I am less ambitious than I was; but those far away, living in ease and safety, cannot imagine the ties which bind me to these people. To the strong desire I have to confer a lasting benefit on them by the introduction of some government approaching to good, the deep seeling of commiseration for the virtuous and unhappy Dyaks, and my indignation at the atrocities to which their ruin and the rapid decline of the race towards extinction, my course may be attributed. At a distance, you, my mother, cannot form a full idea of these feelings. of the stern resolution they inspire to prosecute my designs — to urge my relatives to appeal to every person of humanity to aid the cause — to lay aside all selfish and mean considerations — to exhaust all my means, and, if all fail, and I receive no help from without, to fight out the battle and to die, as I have latterly lived, for the good of this people.' (Private Letters of Sir Jas. Brooke, vol. i. p. 198.)
By Mr. St. John's work we learn what the change was at Sarāwak in sixteen years,— years during which all Borneans living under native rule and the government of the Dutch had been declining in all ways:
• When Sir James Brooke first reached the spot, there were few inhabitants except the Malay rajahs and their followers, who subsequently for the most part removed to Brunei, the residence of the sultan. I saw Kuching in the year 1848, when it was but a small place, with few Chinese or Kling shops, and perhaps not over 6,000 Malny inhabitants ; there was little trade, the native prahus were small, and I saw some few of them. The jungle surrounded the town and hemmed in the houses, and the Chinese gardeners had scarcely made an impression on the place. As confidence was inspired, so the town increased, and now, including the outlying parishes, its population numbers not less than 15,000.
* The commerce of the place has kept pace with it, and from a rare schooner finding its way over to return with a paltry cargo, the trade has risen till an examination of the books convinced me that it was in 1860 above 250,0001. of exports and imports.' (Vol. ii. p. 289.)
After testifying to the remarkable commercial honesty of the Malays, Mr. St. John explains how it has been developed by their confidence in the justice of the government under which they live. He continues :
* This confidence, however, was the growth of some years, and the result of the system of government which I shall now describe. In treating of the capital, I have shown the practice established there. In all the former dependencies of Brunei, there were local chiefs, who administered the internal affairs of their own districts. In Sarāwak, there were originally three, and that number Sir James Brooke continued in their employment, and permitted and encouraged them to take part in everything connected with the government of the country ; obtaining their consent to the imposition of any new tax or change in the system of levying the old; consulting them on all occasions, and allowing their local knowledge to guide him in those things with which they were necessarily better acquainted than he could possibly be.
• It was not to be expected that his teaching and influence should suddenly change these men, accustomed to almost uncontrolled, sway into just and beneficent rulers, and he failed in moulding the datu patinggi, the principal chief. As long as Sir James Brooke was himself present in Sarāwak, he could keep him tolerably straight; but no amount of liberality could prevent him oppressing the Dayaks on erery possible occasion. His rapacity increasing, he took bribes in his administration of justice, and it was at last found necessary to remove him. The third chief behaved much better, and the second, patinggi Ali, was killed during one of Captain Keppel's expeditions.
• The last named left many sons, two of whom would have adorned any situation in life: the eldest, the late bandhar of Sarāwak, was a kind, just, and good man, respected in his public capacity, and beloved in all social intercourse ; his only fault was à certain want of decision, partly caused by a rapid consumption that carried him off about two years since. His next brother succeeded him, and appears to have all his brother's good qualities, with remarkable firmness of character. In fact, a generation is springing up, with new ideas and more enlarged views, who appear to appreciate the working of their present government, and have a pride in being connected with it.
"By associating these men in the administration, and thus educating them in political life, and by setting the example of a great equality in social intercourse, Sir James Brooke laid the foundation of a government which stood a shock that many of his best friends expected would prove fatal – I mean the Chinese insurrection. None of the predicted results have followed. Trade and revenue have both actually increased, and a much better system of management has been introduced.
* The example set in the capital is followed in all the dependent districts, and the local rulers are always associated with the European in the government. The effect has been to prevent any jealousy arising; and the contempt of all natives, which appears a part of our creed in many portions of our empire, is not felt in Sarāwak. Nothing appears more striking to those who have resided long in Sarāwak than the extraordinary change which appears to have been effected in the character of the people, and also in that of individuals. There is no doubt that Sir James Brooke was working in soil naturally good, or these results could not have taken place; but yet, when we know the previous history of men, how lawless and savage they were, and yet find they have conducted themselves in an exemplary manner for twenty years, the whole circumstances appear surprising.
I have watchel the gradual development of Sarāwak with the greatest interest. I have seen districts, once devoted to anarchy, restored to prosperity and peace, by the simple support of the orderly part of the population by a government acting with justice; and it is not surprising that all its neighbours appeal to it, when their own countrymen are seen to exercise so great an influence in its councils.' (Vol. ii. pp. 295–9.)
Never was an enterprise of this character less indebted to external support than Sir James Brooke's. We do not pretend to understand why he has met with such persistent discouragement from the British Government, when all that he has asked has been the presence of the British flag in those seas, as a terror to pirates, and a support to peaceful trade. The fact of his isolation amidst this new realm is a sufficient answer to all that part of the world which believes that England is rapacious in regard to territory, and inclined to meddle wherever interference may lead to conquest : but this is small comfort to the people who live in daily dread of coming under the power of the Dutch, and in incessant doubt which way to turn for protection from the piratical tribes which are the scourge of the Archipelago. Again and again the time has seemed at hand when it would be necessary to permit the Dutch, the French, the Spanish, or the Americans to obtain a footing in the country, that the people might have the protection of one or the other flag. And the danger is not at an end, nor will be till the small boon of a single steamer in those seas is at length granted. We have made a settlement in Labuan; but it has not succeeded like Sir J. Brooke's enterprises. There has been a Christian Mission established at Sarāwak; but it has failed, nearly as completely as the Catholic Mission attempted by Spain. The causes of these failures are plain ; and the counsel of the man best qualified to advise would have precluded the mischief, and secured a much greater good.
For many years there was a persistent effort made, by the self-interest of one party and the prejudices of another, to discredit Brooke's enterprise altogether. Because adventurers among the heathen and the savage have often been unworthy of the professions they put forward, it was assumed that Brooke must be seeking wealth under philanthropic pretences. He was a hypocrite: he was a tyrant: he was a buccaneer : he was everything bad that adventurers had ever been. We heard much of this for many years; but it is all over now. Such speculations were extinguished by the Chinese rising in 1857, which threatened the very existence of the government, and the independence of the native community at Sarāwak. That peril brought out as nothing else could have done the real feelings of the people towards their Rajah ; and the manifestation was such as to silence all enemies and cavillers, and to cause all generous men, who before held their judgment in suspense, to avow themselves satisfied that the relation between the ruler and the people of Sarāwak was, in fact, what it professed to be.
For many years it had been considered a settled matter that