The White Rajahs: A History of Sarawak from 1841 to 1946

The White Rajahs: A History of Sarawak from 1841 to 1946

The White Rajahs: A History of Sarawak from 1841 to 1946

The White Rajahs: A History of Sarawak from 1841 to 1946

Excerpt

This book was undertaken on the suggestion of the Government of Sarawak, to whose kindness and consideration I am deeply indebted. Owing to its generosity I have been enabled to make three separate visits to the country and to travel about it at leisure. I have been given free access to all the papers and documents in its archives, which I have been able to study under the most agreeable conditions. At the same time, I have been encouraged to tell the story in my own way. This is not an official history. The views that I express in it are my own and are based on an objective attempt to interpret the available evidence. I only hope that my findings will be considered to be fair and will not cause hurt or disappointment in any quarter. Part of this work concerns modern times. Many of the actors are still living or have only recently died. It is difficult at so close a perspective to see clearly what really happened and why it was done. An historian dealing with characters long dead may legitimately assign motives, speculate on rumours and even indulge in a little scandal-mongering. It is neither courteous nor helpful nor wise for him to do so when he is dealing with the fringes of the present. The time has not yet come when, for instance, a full and definitive history of the cession of Sarawak to the British Crown can be written.

For quite other reasons the whole history of Sarawak under its White Rajahs is not easy to write. The raw material is at times abundant, but at other times full of gaps. It would be easy to compile an anthology of travellers' tales; for a number of naturalists, ethnologists and travellers for travel's sake have visited Sarawak and written of their experiences books that often give vivid accounts of the country and the lives of its inhabitants. Their works form the greater part of the literature that concerns Sarawak; and they are useful in providing a background. But few of the writers wished or were in a position to tell of the progress of the country. They can only illuminate certain districts at certain times. Much in the sequence of events remains obscure. The only fully documented aspect of Sarawak history is its relations with Great Britain, for which the British official records are complete and indispensable.

For the career and personality of the First Rajah the evidence is plentiful. He wrote prolifically himself and was not at all averse to . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.