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from the Chinese junks, with eight baskets of sweet oranges, Mr. Raffles' certificates, a great many books and letters, also hard cash in my box, 150 dollars,—all these I left. Again, I was at that time almost senseless, nor could I recollect all the things; for I was so panicstruck by the fire, which rose up like a hill with dreadful sound, booming like a hurricane. I rushed forward and fell below, not feeling that my sickness still increased. But shortly I was able to run again, for I saw the fire would be soon upon me and my house. It was at this moment that I first thought of my papers, boxes, clothes, and such like; so I ran back to ascend the house, but now an adjacent house was blown up with gunpowder with the noise of thunder. This threw up all the stones, posts, bales of piece goods and roof, the house falling down in all directions. So I ran, drawing long breaths in a terrible state of mind, knowing what ill luck had beset


Seeing the fire striding forward,

I felt as the life had gone out of me.

The houses and their contents were consumed

As a chicken carried off by a vulture,

And all the houses are levelled.

By reason of the heat of the fire the eyes cannot be opened;

The roarings of the element resound with a din;

The joints of the limbs become feeble ;

Our clothes burn like paper,

Our oranges go off like crackers.

Assisters came quickly,

Removing the goods with rapidity.
The dollars melt like tin,

And run in liquid to the foundations;

Their whereabouts are not to be found,

As the molten leads are mixed with them.

And when I perceived the position I was in, I was appalled and nearly fainting in the middle of the street, my body was so weakened from sickness, and more especially from fright. I then felt the pocket of my coat, where I found a biscuit and a pencil. I ate the

biscuit there and then, for I had had nothing for several days, owing to the power of the fever. So I ran to the middle of the crossing, where I perceived a package of China paper, enclosing ink. So I took the paper, and, carrying it here and there, by God's help the fever and sickness left me, owing to the fright I had got, and this without using any medicine. Then all that I saw,

heard, or was made aware of, or what I felt in the clamour of the fire, I wrote on the paper; and I composed a poem from the beginning of the Chinese New Year festivals until they were put an end to by the fire, and from thence till they began to rebuild. This poem is well known to all Singaporeans and Malakites, and which I named Singapore Burnings.' And at that time I saw many coveted goods and merchandise in the middle of the streets, which people had thrown out like rubbish. Some people stole, others were stolen from; some broke into houses, and others had their premises broken into ; some beat, and others were beaten; some cried, others laughed. If it were opium, it was in the gutters of the street; if it were spirits, it was trickling down to the sea; so that the men of the sea got drunk. All this I have related in my poem.

Moreover, I had true pleasure in composing the poem to the last leaf, and that too was finished by the grace of God in His providence over His slaves. And I now offer up thousands of thanks to Him for guarding my life in the great disaster. I now engaged my mind in composing the poem, with the view that the subject might be known to future generations; the circumstances connected with which I have felt. How many are the bitternesses and sweetnesses of the world; how many storms and waves on the sea of life are there not in this world; how many wonders were seen in Singapore while I was stopping there, in my desire to see the

completion of the houses that had been burnt, that I might have them in my poem.

Two months after this I returned to Malacca. This was owing to my getting twenties of letters from my wife; she having been put to the greatest anxiety by people telling her that I was so sick when the fire took place, that I could not get away from it so they remained in deep grief. I had been only a month in Malacca when the English came and took it over again from the Dutch. This was in the year of the Messiah 1823. Bencoolen was given up instead of it. It was now only that I saw all the races in Malacca truly joyful, they having by this time fully tasted the bitters of the Dutch government. When the Dutch took over the country (in 1818) the people then were delighted; but now, having felt the crushing tread of the Hollanders, they began to like the government of the English."

The great fire of Singapore will be long remembered; but I think Abdulla has mistaken the date. Fires have been numerous, and the only one that I saw nearly equalling this was that of Campong Glam, in 1847, or thereabouts, when the whole native town was destroyed. Abdulla's poetry on the occasion has been found to be untranslatable into English metre. On this occasion he has not had a lady to inspire his muse. His sangfroid in the confusion, and under his fever, is amusing. By his own account he was a true Times reporter. That he should have been so long sick without his wife coming to see him from a distance of only 120 miles is a curious illustration of native habits. Caste prejudices, and their power, must be enormous, more than Europeans can estimate, for they were not unaffectionate, as will hereafter be shown.



"To proceed. I had remained some time in Malacca and then returned to Singapore, and engaged in my usual avocations. I then learned that Mr. Prince had returned to Europe, and that Mr. Murchison had taken his place.

At this time they commenced to repair all the bridges in Singapore,-now using bricks instead of beams and planks. And now also lawsuits and criminal proceedings were removed to the court of the three settlements, i.e., Singapore, Malacca, and Penang. People also first came to hear of grand and petty juries, consisting of twenty-four and twelve members respectively; the former sitting on the right hand, and the other on the left of the judge, hearing the plaints and evidence. These latter were written down by the judge, and then at completion were read over in public to the jury. Then in regard to greater cases, such as sentence of death or transportation to Bombay, or other foreign places, these, and such like, were taken up by the grand jury; and they alone considered and settled as to the. propriety of hanging or transporting. But if the petty jury should be divided, it was incumbent on the judge to detain them till they had all agreed-and not till then would the judge decree punishment. Further, it was a regula

tion that all the jurymen be of good credit, shrewd and experienced in the ways of mankind. They also had to swear, in the presence of the judge, to act faithfully; then only would the judge allow their proceeding. But in regard to smaller affairs, such as debts and debtors, disturbances, and so forth, the plaints were read to the petty jury, and the same method of procedure was followed, the judge asking them if they had agreed; but if disagreed, then he ordered them to find a verdict, and not till then would he decree judgment on the defaulters.

The name of the judge was Tuan Malcolm (Sir Benjamin Malcolm), and that of his vizier (registrar), Tuan Kerr, Esquire (Mr. Kerr). And at that time I first saw a man hung; for before the judge came, where crimes of a nature deserving death were committed, the perpetrators were sent to other countries, where they were put to death. But to my idea this was not right, for this was not seen by the population amongst whom the crime was committed, and thus evil doers were not restrained by fear, for they doubted if they would be hung for their deeds; they would forget in time. When people were hung, either at Malacca or Singapore, thousands went to see them; when some cried from fright, others shook to their very bones at the sight; many also took caution to themselves, not forgetting it for their lifetime. This was an example of the wicked getting their deserts. Now, I have perceived since people have been hung several times in Malacca and Singapore, amoks, murders, and piracies have lessened,-just in the same manner as when you see heavy squalls, thunder and lightning, that these being in truth dangerous and frightful, but they clear the atmosphere, carrying off all bad vapours, from which proceed sicknesses: thus come good health and tranquillity to mankind."

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