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being all of gold; and to look at the letter, it actually glittered-to my experience I have never seen such another, it was so truly beautiful. So next morning I took it up to the hill, as Mr. Raffles was walking up and down the room; and when he saw me coming, he opened the venetian blind, crying out to me, 'What! have you been playing yourself? Go back and write that letter, as the vessel sails to-night.' On this I told him that it was finished, and that I had brought it. Hereupon he was surprised, and told me to bring it up quickly; and he came forward to the stair-door to meet me, waiting for me to ascend. And when I had got up he took hold of the letter, saying, 'It is very beautiful, just like watered gold,' and he added, 'Is this the letter for the Raja of Siam ?' to which I replied, 'Yes, sir.' He then said, 'Try and read it.' Which I did; and when he listened to its contents, he laughed and smiled till it was finished. He then said, 'It is exactly as I wanted; now fold it according to custom, and enclose it in yellow cloth;' and after it had been enclosed in yellow cloth, he put his signature and gave it to the messengers."

It will be observed that the communication of the Siamese Raja was in the language and letters of the Malays, accounted by him as an inferior and subdued people, and I think Raffles was wrong in corresponding in such a language. The correspondence should have been either in English or Siamese. The idea of the signification of the wanting corner appears to be fanciful, but the same fact was related to me by my old friend Kokchai, a Chinese of Penang, and holding the office of Siamese Consul. The mode of reply cannot be considered otherwise than childish, and unbecoming an

English Governor, but it is too circumstantially related to be untrue. Thus another bureau secret is candidly developed. The style of answer is, however, consonant with oriental manners, and reminds me of an old incident related in the Sijara Malaya to this effect. Radin Inu Marawangsa, Raja of Majapahit, hearing of the extensive country of Singapore, sent an ambassador to Raja Vicrama Vira with a shaving of wood seven fathoms long, as fine as paper-its texture being nowhere cut or torn, and the whole rolled up in the form of a ring. The royal letter drew the attention of the King of Singapore to this shaving formed with a hatchet, and he inquired if his kingdom produced such clever artificers. Vierama Vira, on hearing the letter read, sent for Pewang Bentau, who, in the presence of the Majapahit ambassador, hewed the hair of the head of a boy forty days old. The hatchet with which the feat was performed was sent to Majapahit with the ambassador, who quickly took his leave and departed. The Raja of Majapahit interpreted the message of the Singapore king as a threat that he would shave his head if he dared to come to Singapore, and so equipped a powerful fleet, which having arrived was beaten back.* The letter of Sir Stamford, it may be remarked, did not bring about this contingency. However, Burmah at this time had encroached within two hundred miles of Calcutta, and it was the policy to keep friends with Siam. His policy gave existence to the embassy of Colonel Burney, who concluded a treaty with Siam in 1826.

Great events have taken place since these days, much darkness of ignorance having been dispelled. In 1855, the reigning prince of Siam was one of the most intelligent of Asiatic monarchs, being both learned and scientific. Abdulla's vanity was pardonable under the

* Braddell's Extracts.

circumstances, he having been made the instrument of correspondence between his powerful silver-footed majesty and the representative of the merchant princes of England.

My late friend Mr. Hunter, of Bangkok, shortly after this date opened trade with Siam, and was the means of nourishing a large intercourse, and thus creating a better understanding, though he himself latterly incurred the displeasure of the Siamese authorities. He it was who discovered the world-known Siamese twins, whom to his astonishment he saw when swimming in the Menan, in sight of their mother, and with whom he soon made arrangements, in which the interests of the subjects themselves were well guarded, for their exhibition in Europe and America. He used to recount to me many amusing traits and habits of the child twins as he observed them when they were first taken charge of.




'Now, to my notion, who am a simple person, and have little special knowledge, Mr. Raffles' strong measures against gambling were good and excellent. Furthermore, they were unexceptionable on many accounts. In the first place they were humane, tending to save people from destruction; for gambling is destructive of man, as it encourages cheating and evil propensities. Further, gambling is the father of wickedness, and it has three children by name-the oldest being Mr. Falsehood, the second being Mr. Thief, and the youngest being Mr. Murderer. And these three destroy this world. Now, if it be thought that Mr. Raffles sought his own gain, could he not have drawn from the gambling farm thousands of dollars monthly, for which people would have bought it? Then did he mean to lose all this for no reason at all? Now, if the Malays held the government of Singapore, certainly they would have sold the gambling farm-giving as a reason for doing so that money was of use in this world, but of no use in the world to come. But were we to tell them to teach their children good lessons, then they would ask, What is the use of the knowledge we have to learn in this world, since it will be of no use in the world to come? Then look at Mr. Raffles. Was it not his object to guard all

mankind in this world, as well as in the world to come? For do not gamblers not only bring evil on mankind in this world, but, more than that, they bring evil on themselves in the world to come?"

These sentiments are worthy of John Bunyan, of whose style they are a reminder, and are tersely put. The arguments of the Malays remind one of the man that drunk a jug of brandy daily. The jug had an angel painted in the bottom; so, when the man was asked why he drank so much, he said that he wished to see the angel. A jug was now substituted by his friends with the devil in the same place, yet he emptied it all the same; and when remonstrated with by his friends, his ready reply was that he did not like to leave the devil a drop. In other words, there are always excuses for bad courses, as Abdulla tells us.

It will be seen that Abdulla gives Raffles the credit of giving up the gambling farm out of his personal income. This is a common mistake with orientals in estimating the English, owing to their system of farming provinces to the Pashas, who make what they can out of them.

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