British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

42
THE COURT OF DIRECTORS OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY TO THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL, BENGAL 7 April 18291

Our serious attention having been given to the charge of maintaining the Incorporated Settlements of Prince of Wales Island, Singapore and Malacca, we proceed to communicate to you the opinions which we have formed of the practicability and expediency of effecting an important reduction in that branch of expenditure.

When it was determined many years since to constitute Prince of Wales Island a separate Presidency it was in contemplation not only to form that island into a marine station for the rendezvous, refitting and supply of His Majesty's squadrons in the eastern seas, but also to make it a naval arsenal for the building of ships for the Royal Navy. These objects may now be considered as abandoned and with regard to political or commercial benefits resulting either to Great Britain or to India from the tenure by us of Prince of Wales Island, Singapore and Malacca, we consider that those benefits may be effectually secured by an administration of the settlements upon a very reduced scale and that such an alteration need not interfere with the sources or amount of revenue now collected.

We have therefore come to the resolution of putting these three settlements on the footing of Residencies subject to your Government and we desire that you take immediate measures for that purpose.

We presume that the facility and quickness of steam will enable you to exercise a direct control over the proceedings of the several Residents. If however upon reflection you should consider that it would be a preferable arrangement to combine the administration of the three settlements in one Chief Resident with a suitable number of Assistants you have our authority to do so.

It will we think be desirable at once to name a date (and the 1st May 1830 appears to be a suitable period) at which the Government as now constituted shall cease to exercise its function and when the local authority of each of the three settlements shall vest in a Resident to be appointed by the Government at Bengal to whom the Residents are to be subject. . . .

____________________
1

Journal of the Malayan Branch, Royal Asiatic Society, vol. xxiii, Singapore 1950, part 2, p. 189. Lord William Cavendish Bentinck was Governor-General.

-77-

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