548 EMBASSY TO SIAM
reasoning be well-founded, and I think it would be difficult to controvert it, a law prohibiting the sale of the munitions of war to nations and tribes over whom we exercise no control, and with whom we scarcely maintain any political relations, is to all purposes as inefficient as it is unwise and impolitic.
I shall now advert to one or two articles which have been either entirely created in consequence of the existence of Singapore, or which, as the result of that event, reach the great markets of Europe more cheaply. The article of tortoise-shell, a produce of the Indian Islands, used to find its way to Europe by the indirect route of China, loaded with the charges of an unskilful and barbarous commerce. Nearly the whole of the traffic in this article now centres in Singapore. The native importer receives for it double the price he used to do, and the article is cheaper in Europe than ever. The quantity of this commodity exported from Singapore, in 1823, was only 3224 lbs.; in 1824, it was 3671 lbs.; in 1825, it was above 10,000lbs.; and in 1826, it was 16,000 lbs.a In 1825, it was accidentally discovered that a rich sulphuret of antimony was an abundant mineral on the north coast of Borneo. This commodity, heretofore unknown in the commerce between India and Europe, and which, in fact, could not by any possibility be exported in the former condition of the Indian trade, was tried as a remittance by the merchants of Singapore, and seems to have answered perfectly. In 1825, two hundred and fifty tons of it were exported to England ; and in 1826, very nearly six hundred tons. Bullion is largely imported into, and exported from, Singapore. Gold dust is brought from Celebes, Borneo, Sumatra, and the east coast of the Malay peninsula, and chiefly remitted to Calcutta. The quantity exported in 1826 amounted to 6720 oz. The specie exported in the same year amounted to the value of 918,316 Spanish dollars.
These statements will suffice to show the extent and value of the trade carried on through the medium of the new settlement. Some speculators have conjectured that this trade was only an old one conducted through a