Nakajima. Kuala Lumpur.
Tapping Para Rubber.
Raffles signed with Johore plenipotentiaries the necessary treaty ceding Singapore and hoisted the British flag a on the site of the ancient maritime capital of the Malays.a a It is a child of my owna he wrote, a and bids fair to be one of the most important (Colonies) 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. One free port in these seas must eventually destroy the spell of Dutch monopoly.a Meanwhile, the spell of His Netherlands Majestya s armaments at Batavia had rattled the resolution of the Supreme Government in Calcutta, who sent after Raffles a letter of countermand. This he received after founding Singapore. Penang sent him no assistance, and only in 1822 did Great Britain recognise Singapore, for not until that date did its Government realise that the a long long thoughts a of Raffles were destined to work out the commercial salvation of England in these seas. The subsequent history of Singapore is that of a growing commercial free port, but up to the invention of steam the trade was much harassed by Malay piratical prahus which infested the Singapore Straits, the islands, the coast of the Peninsula and the adjacent seas. Piracy was in those days the only career for a Malay of spirit, and it offered all the glorious uncertainties of war, of sport, and of commerce. It was no uncommon thing in those days for ships and junks to sail to or from Singapore and no man see them more. Attacked off some river-mouth
trading settlement by Malay prahus, rowing thirty a side, often cunningly disguised as fishing boats, or else when becalmed at sea and openly set upon by native craft whose lightness took advantage of the failing breeze, the smaller Chinese, Indian and English trading craft ran risks which to-day seem almost incredible. When overpowered, their crews were either massacred or carried away into slavery, or merely turned adrift, the ships gutted of every article of value and themselves plundered of provisions, of water and even of clothing, to die of privation, or to make, if they could, some not inhospitable harbour. The British did what they could to suppress piracy, but until the invention of steam vessels no real suppression was possible. The first encounter between the paddle steamer Diana and a fleet of five pirate boats is on record. When the Malays first sighted the steamer they thought she was a sailing ship afire, so they joyously sailed towards her, encouraged in the idea that she was helpless by the fact that she lay still and waited for them. The first Malay prahu was allowed to range alongside and there sunk. This did not deter the others, but when the ship afire began to sail towards them against the wind the pirates were horrified at such an unnatural proceeding and began to disperse. The Diana
Para Rubber Drying.