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'Man is afraid of a tiger because of its teeth; so if it be toothless, why should one be afraid of it?' So Europeans now thought lightly of the Sultan.
At that time Mr. Crawfurd put the streets in order, widening and levelling them; and at the corner of each he had a board put up with the name printed in English. At this time convicts were first imported to Singapore. These were employed to finish what had been commenced by former Governors; they also cleared the hills of scrub. The roads, as we see them at present, were all laid out by Mr. Crawfurd; but since then they have been widened. He also appropriated to himself a deal of land near the Bazaar, on which are twenties of shops, and which to this time are let for him by his agent.
On looking at Mr. Crawfurd's disposition, he was impatient, and of a quick temper; but in what he was engaged he did slowly and not immediately. Further, it could be perceived that he was a man of good parts, clever and profound. Yet it was equally true that he was much bent down by a love for the goods of this world. His hand was not an open one, though he had no small opinion of himself. Further, his impatience prevented him from listening to long complaints, and he did not care about investigating the circumstances of the case. As sure as there was a plaint, he would cut it short in the middle. On this account I have heard that most people murmured and were dissatisfied, feeling that they could not accept his decision with good-will, but by force only.”
Here is a case of Solomon having got into the hands of the Philistines, the leader of the Philistines being John Crawfurd, Esq., F.R.S. At the same time, it is to be perceived that the flight and distribution of the concubines was not calculated to improve the morals of the settlement, European, Chinese, and Kling.
The East India Company being originally founded by Radicals, principally composed of London shopkeepers, we here see the effects in the desecration of the monarchical precincts. The concubines were dispersed amongst the people, and the wall also of the temple is broken down. There was always a floating idea amongst the natives that the Company's government would not stand long. We have seen it out.
While knocking down the Sultan's walls, Crawfurd, by way of compensation, seems to have built up a row of shops for himself in the most valuable part of the town, which brought in a large revenue. As a matter of course, a native would surmise that in his position it was beneath him to pay for the land. It is a mistake to think that they are not very critical.
I have read over the character given by Abdulla in the last paragraph to a gentleman who used to meet Mr. Crawfurd at the Anthropologial Society, of which he was president, and he imagines it to be very correct.
The manuscript then proceeds to give a long disquisition on his English pupils, which I have left untranslated. The difficulties in attaining a critical knowledge of the languages seems to have discouraged all who attempted to do so. This Abdulla laments.
CHRISTIAN CHAPEL VERSUS CHINESE JOSS HOUSE.
“I WILL now return to my own affairs. I was engaged for three years in teaching Malay to the young English merchants and to new-comers, but I have not space to tell all their names, they were so numerous ; yet I may mention a few of them, such as Messrs. Boustead, Benjamin Butler, Sykes, Read, Paton, Terangtin (?), Ker, White, Magdano (?), Purvis, the two Mestrings (?), Rogers, Martin, Carnie, Davison, Hamsen (?); indeed, these and hundreds of gentlemen that I have taught, but whom I have forgot. Further, there were of English women and their unmarried daughters ten or twelve that I taught in Singapore. But in regard to the gentlemen, they being merchants, all that they required was to be able to speak enough for trading purposes, or to read letters; so they did not study polite literature, nor the more difficult works, nor the idiom of the language. So before they had washed or bathed in the principles of the Malay languages, they lost all as time flowed, till they could not tell how many crooked alifs there were.
Such were my circumstances when a letter came to me from Malacca, to wit, from the Rev. Messrs. Humphries, Kyd, and Coolie (?), asking me to come to that place, as there was not a moonshee there who could
teach English and Malay, and as there were Malay writings and books which they wished to study.
I answered them that I could not go to them, as I had a great deal of work in hand in Singapore at this time, but if they would wait a little I would come. Two or three months after this, another letter came from these gentlemen, begging of me to come, asking if I had lost my good feelings for them, as I had been taught in the college. Now there was no work in the college, yet I would not come. Afterwards, however, because of my good remembrances of Mr. Milne, I left my business in Singapore and came to them at Malacca. So the gentlemen got out all the Malay books that were piled up in their presses from the time of Mr. Milne, and all the books collected in former times, which they told me to arrange. There were others that had been translated into English by Mr. Kite (?). After this Mr. Humphries desired to study Malay, so I taught him for about a twelvemonth; he could then read a little, but he gave it up to study Chinese. Then Mr. Kite studied Malay a little ; whilst Mr. Coolie did not study it at all, but Chinese only. I was then put at the head of the printing department, to attend to all the business there, for none of them understood this. On account of these engagements I could not leave Malacca, notwithstanding I had numbers of letters from the merchants of Singapore, earnestly calling me away. I told Mr. Humphries of this; but he would not let me go, telling me that he could not get such another trustworthy person for the college duties, and that if I went the work must come to a stand. So he offered to make up my Singapore earnings. So I remained translating English into Malay, teaching them Malay, and attending to the printing.
Now regarding the English chapel, i.e. the church at Malacca, the founder of it was Mr. Humphries, and
the spot where it is built was originally called Kubun Katik. This was near to my own house, and it was held in my father's time by a Malay called Inchi Tahir, who sold it to Tambi Mahomed Syed, then to Mahomed Syed, then to Sheik Ally, an Arab who was khatib in the Kling Mosque. Then, when Sheik Ally desired to sell the place, I informed Mr. Humphries, letting him know at the same time that a Chinaman had set his heart on it, with the view of adding it to his Joss house. So Mr. Humphries bought it at once for 400 Spanish dollars. The place faced the Chinese Joss house, and for this reason all the Chinese wished to have it. The width of it was about twenty fathoms, the length exceeding this.
About two days after the purchase, Mr. Humphries prepared to erect the chapel; and when the Chinese heard this, their captain, with a number of them, came to him to ask for the land, offering to give him a great advance on the purchase-money, even to double. But Mr. Humphries would not agree. Then on the morrow the Chinese came again, offering to change plots in another quarter, adding money to this; but he would not give in. They were much grieved at this, as the ground was exactly opposite their place of worship. This became a great cause of trouble to them, for it was their custom to have music and firing of crackers in any quantity, with paper-burning and great uproar. So that if this became an English church, to a certainty the noises would be interfered with.
Now, it is the custom of the Chinese to place their places of worship (literally idol houses) in the best places, having their frontages towards China, so that if houses are placed in their front, they of necessity act as a screen. The Chinese faith is, that by Mr. Humphries' chapel being in front of their place of worship,