HC Deb 21 August 1848 vol 101 cc311-4

On the question that a sum of 9,827l. be granted for maintaining the Government of Labuan for the year ending the 31st of March, 1849,


thought it too much to begin, at such a place as this, with such salaries as "Governor or Commander-in-Chief, 2,000l.; Lieutenant-Governor and Magistrate, 1,375l.;" to say nothing of "Master-Attendant and Postmaster, 500l.; Surveyor, 500l." He begged to move that the vote be reduced to 3,000l.


observed that this was a new estimate, but Labuan was a position very important in reference to our trade in that quarter; the merchants in all parts of the country had urged the Government to take possession of a station there. Expense was necessarily incurred at starting" but he believed that Labuan would become a second Singapore, and this estimate would be reduced as revenue accrued. No one was so fit for governor as the gentleman who had been appointed.


considered the vote extravagant; it was pretended to be only "to begin with," but, once voted, it would never get less. Next year there would most likely be a bishop; a colony never started with a governor and commander-in-chief without ending with a bishop.


hoped there might be a bishop there some day; nothing was so likely to keep a colony in order and in due subjection to the mother country as an ecclesiastical establishment. Labuan was an important position. Borneo ultimately, in all probability, might belong to this country.


was a little alarmed at the comprehensive view of his hon. Friend; considering the portion of the earth that we had got, he was more anxious for the cultivation of the field already ours, than for the extension of it, though ready to allow that a post at Labuan might be very wise. The hon. Member (Mr. Osborne) was strangely wrong about bishops. With the exception of a grant which was doomed to extinction on the expiration of a life interest, there was only one vote for a bishop in the whole of the colonial estimates, namely, 600l. a year for a bishop in New Zealand, and it had proved the cheapest 600l. we ever expended. But the estimate before the House was certainly large. Labuan was in its infancy, and it would be premature to frame establishments for it on the idea that it would be a second Singapore.


considered the vote an experiment. Rajah Brooke, by his own genius, activity, and resources, had laid the foundation at Labuan of a considerable trade. He asked the Rajah when in Europe whether he thought that trade would be large? He said he thought it would in time, but did not expect it to grow up very rapidly. The question was whether it would not be advisable as an experiment to foster Labuan for the purposes of commerce. As a station to which our ships might have recourse, it was of considerable importance. Lord Grey stated in his evidence before the Committee, that he expected in a very short time it would, like Singapore, pay the whole expenses of its civil establishment. If that expectation were realised, no further vote would he necessary on account of Labuan. It certainly was worth the experiment; and if it failed, he would not propose a further establishment. As Sir J. Brooke had been so much the originator of this establishment, he thought it was advisable to place him at its head.


admitted the extraordinary exploits of the Rajah in the Indian Archipelago, but deprecated the establishment of Labuan; believing, as he did, that it would tend, not to the promotion of peaceful and honourable commerce, but to the infliction of the greatest calamities on the population of that part of the world. Every humane man must shudder as he read the proceedings of our ships of war, and the indiscriminate massacres that had taken place, directly or indirectly, in connexion with their proceedings at Labuan.


could not allow this conversation to close without saying a few words. The hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets objected to the vote because he thought the interests of humanity and justice would be better consulted by abandoning Labuan; because its establishment would lead us into incessant conflict with the peaceful inhabitants of that region, and even involve the aborigines in indiscriminate massacre. Now, if it were possible for the ingenuity of man—ignorant, as the hon. Member was not, of the circumstances under which that establishment had been formed—to make a statement in every respect the very reverse of the fact, it would be such a statement as the hon. Gentleman had made. What was it that obstructed the increase of the peaceful commerce of Europe and Asia in those islands? What but the prevalence of piracy? The peaceful aborigines! Why, a multitude of those islands were filled with nests of pirates, who preyed on the peaceful aborigines, and destroyed commerce in those distant seas. The object of our naval expeditions had been to put down the most detestable and diabolical system of piracy that ever existed on the face of the globe. Those pirates went out frequently in fleets of 12,000 men, armed, and required a very considerable force to meet and repress them. We were not the only people taking measures to put them down. The Spanish Governor General of the Philippine Islands had sent a large naval and military expedition for the express purpose of rooting them out, particularly on the Sooloo coast; and it was only after a very obstinate resistance that he had been enabled to complete his purpose. Here was a quarter in which commerce was capable of a great and important development. That could not take place without adequate protection against this most extensive and formidable system of piracy; and he did hope that one of the beneficial consequences that would result from the establishment of Labuan would be the extinction of these pirates, partly by the exercise of military force, and partly by the moral effects of civilisation; and thus the interests of commerce in Europe and Asia would be materially advanced.

The Committee divided on the question, that a sum not exceeding 3,000l. be granted:—Ayes 12; Noes 56: Majority 44.

List of the AYES.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Salwey, Col.
Fox, W. J. Thompson, Col.
Greene, J. Urquhart, D.
Gwyn, H. Williams, J.
Hardcastle, J. A.
Kershaw, J. TELLERS.
Lushington, C. Hume J.
Osborne, R. Thompson, G.
List of the NOES.
Adair, R. A. S. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Armstrong, Sir A. Lewis, G. C.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Lygon, hon. Gen.
Mackinnon, W. A.
Bellew, R. M. M'Gregor, J.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Morpeth, Visct.
Boyle, hon. Col. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Palmerston, Visct.
Callaghan, D. Parker, J.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Power, Dr.
Clements, hon. C. S. Rich, H.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Romilly, Sir J.
Cubitt, W. Russell, Lord J.
Divett, E. Scrope, G. P.
Duncan, G. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Dundas, Adm. Shelburne, Earl of
Dunne, F. P. Smith, J. A.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Somerville, rt. hon. W.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Tenison, E. K.
Foley, J. H. H. Thornely, T.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Hawes, B. Waddington, H. S.
Hay, Lord J. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Hayter, W. J. Watkins, Col.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Wilson, J.
Hobhouse, T. B. Wilson, M.
Howard, P. H. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Jervis, Sir J. TELLERS.
Keogh, W. Tufnell, H.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Craig, W. G.

Other votes agreed to.

House resumed.

Committee to sit again.

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