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leaving Messrs. Kite and Coolie. The Malay work and printing in the college now lessened, as they gave their attention to the Chinese language only. Otherwise they taught the Chinese children English and Chinese. So I asked leave to return to the Straits, and true enough they let me go, but not willingly, for they wished me to remain for good in the College; but I told them that if they would write to me, should I be much required, that I would return. So I set sail and returned to Singapore; and when I arrived, the merchants again came to me to learn Malay. So I set to work. I now learned that Mr. Crawfurd had returned to Europe, and that Mr. Prince (?) held his place; but he also soon left, and was replaced by Mr. Murchison. Again there came Mr. Presgrave, who had a limping gait; after him came Mr. Bonham, who became chief of the three settlements. Mr. Wingrove then became head of the police; and after Mr. Wingrove had sailed, he was succeeded by Mr. Church. After him came Captain Ferrier. He again was succeeded by Major Low, who now holds office as police magistrate. The latter came from Pulo Penang, the former taking his place as magistrate at Sabrang Prye (Province Wellesley). After this, by the grace of God, Singapore was highly prosperous, multitudes coming and going without stoppage. The streets and lanes had all been made and kept in repair; the forests had been cleared by the Company's slaves (meaning here convicts)."
Abdulla gives the names of several of the pioneer merchants of Singapore, men highly esteemed for their probity and enterprise, and one or two of whom have since become well known in the extensive trade of England and China.
His allusion to the letter alif indicates, however, how little Abdulla thought of their Malay acquirements, alif being the only straight letter in the Malay alphabet.
That the new missionaries should be so entirely dependent on him, shows at what a low ebb education had been in the renowned city of Malacca. The intrusion of the missionaries as regards the Chinese temple appears to me to have been not only injudicious, but, from Abdulla's account, also to have been unnecessary. They, no doubt, would call it chivalrous to thus beard the lion in this den, but there was no credit in this apparent magnanimity, as they had the police and authorities at their back to cow the Chinese, and beat them down. The loud noise of the Chinese in their worship was a matter of complaint, and it is curious to note that the constant complaint of Christian ministers against their own people, was that they were too silent. It is a fact that all the time I was in India I never heard a psalm sung. When there was a barrel-organ, it would do duty; and where not, the clerk and people sat silent. I speak of a quarter of a century ago; I am not aware what is the case now.
I am reminded of the case of Missionary Sumner at Macao. He met his fellow-Christians carrying the host; but, contrary to the custom of his fellow-Christians, though belonging to the opposite sect, he would neither turn into a cross street nor take off his hat, so he was knocked down and carried off to jail, where he was kept starving by way of penance. Captain, now Admiral, Keppel then came to his rescue, shooting the jailor dead in the mêlée. Keppel did quite right, even though the accident occurred; but a little Christian forbearance on the part of Sumner would have been more laudable.
Thus, though my fellow Protestants in the far East would not sing psalms, they were always a church militant in the true sense of the term.
STEAM VESSELS FIRST HEARD OF.
"ABOUT this time there came a merchant called Maxwell. He first stopped at the police-office, and I taught him Malay, and he was for some time engaged so. It was he who built the present court-house, which the Company rented of him. After this Mr. Church bought it. Europeans now began to build brick houses in the plain towards Campong Glam, which had been under brushwood, but now was cleared. The merchants at this time had great profits, because tortoiseshell had risen in value in Europe; the price in Singapore was 1200 dollars a pikal and more. The traders were thus great gainers. The country-born Chinese of Malacca had also grown rich. In this year the English first began to buy gambier and antimony (batu Sarawak) and dragon's blood. All these were sent to Europe, and in exchange there came different kinds of goods, such as flowered satins, glass utensils, plates and cups of divers forms, of new styles never before seen. In this year also we first heard of steam vessels about to come out to Singapore. We had heard a rumour about such things previously, but to most of the people it was like the news given in history-the news had the appearance of nothingness. On this account I did not believe it, nor did any one else receive it in his understanding. As the Malays say, to
hear it is not to receive it. But now a picture of a steamship came to Singapore, and there were also in the place men of trust who had sailed in them, and they told me. On this account I now believed true enough, but it was the belief of mind only—I had not seen them, nor could I conceive their actual appearance. It is also true that I dilated to my neighbours on the skill and ingenuity of the Europeans in all things, that I had seen or heard from Englishmen of standing; but when I came to the steamship, they fell in a rage at me, and wrangled with me so as to knock me over. Others accused me of always foisting up the English and telling lies. Others found fault with me for speaking so much about it. If I had ventured to speak to them of gas burning without a wick or oil in thousands and thousands of houses in England, and that waggons ran by steam at a rate of twenties of miles to the hour, and that there was a road under the earth nine hundred feet long in London, over which a river flowed with twenties of ships sailing thereon, and under which horse-carriages and men went and came; also that a person had made a patong (?) so clever at playing, that a thousand people could not withstand it; again, that there is a species of bird which can carry up people into the air, beside many other miracles which I have heard of; but were I even to mention them to the Malays, they would certainly shut their ears and turn away their faces, calling me a big bear. But let this subject alone-there are those who will not believe that there are lions in the world, and so they wrangle at what I tell them. But when the lions are brought from other countries, they will be forced to admit that I am right and that they are wrong.
Again, I have had to bear a great deal of opposition from these people regarding things that I have learnt from scientific men, who have competent knowledge of
the geography of the world, which they say is truly round, and which I have repeated to them; and I have especially been answered, that such a fact could not be believed, for such a thing was never heard of before, nor have our ancestors informed us of it. I showed them numbers of signs and proofs that the world was round, yet they would not believe me. Each and every one talked about it as they liked, some saying it was four-cornered, others seven. To this I replied, 'Have not the white men's ships gone round the world numbers of times?' But this also they would not believe; adding, 'How could they do this; for is not the hill of Kaf in the way, and various kinds of mountains and dark seas?' Then, again, about the obscuring of the sun and the moon I had constant arguments, for they spoke as they liked. Some said the eclipse of the moon was owing to a snake eating it; others, it was because of the great sins of mankindbecause of these God darkened the world to make us reflect. Others, again, said that the moon was sick. The origination of this idea was because the word ruh (spirit) means, in the language of Hindostan, 'snake.' Thus this foolish notion has attached itself to the Malays, who say (at an eclipse) the moon is eaten up by the ruh, which they translate into ular or snake. Others say that the moon has fallen into a sea of mud, and other such absurdities. Thus I have noticed in Malay countries, during eclipses, some make great noises, beating gongs and firing guns in order to let the snake hear, and to frighten it from the moon. I have also seen men and women screeching to the snake to let go the moon. I have further observed in the interior of Malacca people striking each other's nails; and when I asked the meaning of this, they told me it was a sound that would reach the sky. This made me laugh beyond endurance at their great absurdities. I tried to explain to them that the