British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

40
SIR STAMFORD RAFFLES TO COLONEL ADDENBROOKE, 10 June 18I91
Singapore.MY DEAR COLONEL,You will probably have to consult the map in order to ascertain from what part of the world this letter is dated. . . .I shall say nothing of the importance which I attach to the permanence of the position I have taken up at Singapore: it is a child of my own. But for my Malay studies I should hardly have known that such a place existed: not only the European, but the Indian world was also ignorant of it.I am sure you will wish me success; and I will therefore only add that if my plans are confirmed at home, it is my intention to make this my principal residence, and to devote the remaining years of my stay in the East to the advancement of a colony which, in every way in which it can be viewed, bids fair to be one of the most important, and at the same time one of the least expensive and troublesome, which we possess. Our object is not territory, but trade; a great commercial emporium, and a fulcrum, whence we may extend our influence politically as circumstances may hereafter require. By taking immediate possession, we put a negative to the Dutch claim of exclusion, and at the same time revive the drooping confidence of our allies and friends. One free port in these seas must eventually destroy the spell of Dutch monopoly; and what Malta is in the West, that may Singapore become in the East. . . .
41
SIR STAMFORD RAFFLES: BRITISH COMMERCIAL POLICY IN THE EAST INDIES, 18192
. . . The subject naturally divides into three heads, which will be considered in succession.
The high importance of our connection with these countries, whether considered with reference to the national interest in general, or to those of British India particular.
____________________
1

Memoir of Sir T. S. Raffles, by his widow, p. 379. Colonel Addenbrooke was late equerry to H.R.H. Princess Charlotte. In his report to Adam on 13 February 1819 ( Bengal Secret Consultations, vol. 308) Raffles declared that the occupation of Singapore had destroyed the political importance of Malacca: it had paralysed all hostile plans 'for the exclusion of our commerce and influence with the Malay States'. 'The spell is broken and one independent port under our flag may be sufficient to prevent the recurrence of the system of exclusion and monopoly which the Dutch once exercised in these seas and would willingly re-establish.'

2

Memoir of Sir T. S. Raffles, by his widow, Appendix, pp. 11-17.

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