The Native Policies of Sir Stamford Raffles in Java and Sumatra: An Economic Interpretation

The Native Policies of Sir Stamford Raffles in Java and Sumatra: An Economic Interpretation

The Native Policies of Sir Stamford Raffles in Java and Sumatra: An Economic Interpretation

The Native Policies of Sir Stamford Raffles in Java and Sumatra: An Economic Interpretation

Excerpt

It is ironical that such a violent Holland-hater as Raffles should hold a more important place in Dutch than in British colonial history. In his own country he is thought of as the founder of Singapore, and his name tends to be lost amid the galaxy of other heroes of empire. In Dutch history, on the other hand, he is remembered as a colonial governor, who during five crucial years (1811-16) guided the fortunes of Java and its dependencies, and attempted a reform in the administration of the country which amounted to a revolution. Raffles was important in the development of Dutch colonial policy because he enunciated the principle of native welfare, because his land rent system laid the foundation for the introduction of money into the closed native economy, because he discovered that the Javanese village was a useful administrative unit, and because he pursued Daendels' ideal of incorporating the native chiefs into the machinery of government. But whereas Raffles favoured a system of direct rule, the Dutch both before and after his time have, in theory at least, aimed at indirect rule.

The essential difference between Raffles' and Dutch policies in this respect was largely determined by the economic situation in Europe. While Raffles regarded Java as a colony of revenue and a potential market for the consumption of British manufactures, the Dutch had nothing to sell, and therefore considered the island only as a producer of export crops. They simply bound the chiefs to deliver the requisite amounts of coffee, pepper, rice, and indigo, and left it to them to conduct the administration of the country. Indirect rule through native chieftains was the simplest and most economical way that the Dutch could achieve their ends. But Raffles, who wanted to create the circulation of money in Java, aimed at breaking down the whole indigenous 'feudal' structure and bringing the people into direct contact with the parental spring of western economic prosperity.

The economic factor is very important in considering the . . .

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