HC Deb 10 July 1851 vol 118 cc436-503

rose to propose the Motion of which he had given notice. He said, that at last an opportunity was afforded him of calling the attention of the House to transactions which had long been before the public, and to which he had given great attention. He was sorry that, upon the last occasion when this subject was introduced, some hon. Gentleman had diverted the attention of the House from that which was a public question, to a question of certain squabbles between private individuals. He deprecated that course at the time, and he still deprecated it, for he wished it to be considered as a public question of great importance, affecting the character of this country. He had been asked that very day why he brought forward this question at a period so long subsequent to the transactions to which it referred, and when it was impossible to remedy the evil. He could not for a moment acquiesce in any such opinion, and he was anxious to remind the House that he had endeavoured from a very early period to bring the question before their consideration; but he must say he never knew a question which was kept in so much doubt and secrecy, or in which he had encountered so much difficulty in obtaining from the Government those official documents and papers which ought to have been on the table long ago. A charge had been made by the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond), that he (Mr. Hume) had been urged on by an individual who was hostile to Sir James Brooke; but he denied that such was the fact. He was not the tool of any man, and he had taken up this question upon his own conviction of the necessity and justice of doing so as a public man. He was not the only one who thought so, for he learnt that a great public association in this metropolis had had the matter under their consideration. In order to show that he was not actuated by any private or personal feelings in the matter, he might state that it was first brought under his attention by an extract from a Singapore paper which appeared in the Daily News of the 25th of June, 1849, and which stated that in March and April the naval force of the Nemesis, belonging to the East India Company, and in the pay of the British Government, had joined a collection of prahus with Sir James Brooke, and had proceeded to attack certain portions of the Dyaks of the Sarebas and Sakarran rivers, in the island of Borneo; but the paragraph which most attracted his attention was the one in which it was asked whether it was creditable to our naval forces to aid or take part in cruel butcheries, and brutal murders of the helpless and the defenceless? After reading this account, he (Mr. Hume) came down to the House and asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he had received any despatch from the Nemesis; and the answer was that none had been received, although there was a naval regulation, by which every officer commanding a fleet was bound to despatch to the Admiralty by the first opportunity an account of every pro- ceeding of such a nature. On the 4th of February, 1850, he asked the noble Lord at the head of the Government— Whether he would lay upon the table of the House the reports furnished by the commanding officers, whether of Her Majesty's or the East India Company's navy, engaged in operations for the alleged suppression of piracy against the natives of Borneo, on the rivers Moratatias, Sarebas, Sakarran, and other places during 1849; together with the correspondence between Sir James Brooke and Her Majesty's Government on the same subject? He asked the question, because very great anxiety existed in the public mind on the subject. The noble Lord said in reply— That the Government were ready to lay upon the table any information they possessed on the subject to which the hon. Gentleman referred. At the same time, he was not aware that the Government were in possession of any information beyond the reports of officers of Her Majesty's Navy. Upon the 4th of March he complained of the delay of the papers promised by the noble Lord, and upon the same day the noble Lord said— He had hoped that those papers would have been prepared before Parliament met, and he was not at present aware of the causes which had delayed them. Upon the 8th of March he gave notice that he should again call the attention of the House to the subject. On the 21st he moved for copies of Sir Francis Collier's orders to Commander Farquhar, alluded to in Commander Farquhar's report of the 25th of August, 1849, in reply to which the First Lord of the Admiralty stated that some of the papers he had not got, and that there was one for which he apprehended he should have to write out—he had no objection to the production of the papers. On the 9th of April he complained that some returns respecting the Admiral's orders had not been presented. Upon the 23rd of May, upon the vote for head-money, he asked for information; and in reply to his hon. Friend the Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden) the First Lord of the Admiralty stated— That ships were sent specifically for the purpose of this expedition by Sir Francis Collier, the admiral on the station. The orders under which they acted were, to be exceedingly careful as to the parties whom they attacked; but his impression was that the hon. Member had misunderstood the order. On the 12th of July the right hon. Gentleman said that he —"had another explanation to offer. The hon. Member for Montrose had moved for the naval instructions under which the parties acted, and it was complained that that return had not yet been made. The fact was, that a copy of the instructions had been written for; but, in consequence of the death of Sir Francis Collier, and of other circumstances, there had been great delay in supplying it. But it was quite clear that Sir Francis Collier must have been a party to the transaction, for Captain Farquhar, in one of his communications on the subject, stated that, in consequence of the orders he received, he did so and so. He mentioned these circumstances to show that he, at all events, was not chargeable with the delay that had occurred; because he had done everything in his power to bring the question before the House at an earlier opportunity. A point of great importance connected with this was, that we, who were so chary of life in this country, and who were hesitating even whether we should permit punishment of death for murder, were allowing murders to the extent of 1,500 or 2,000 at a time to take place under the eye of an officer holding Her Majesty's commission, and paid by the public, and took, no notice of the transaction. It was supposed by many that he wished to attack the character of Sir James Brooke. Undoubtedly, so far as Sir James Brooke was an actor in those scenes, his character might be affected; but this was a question of such a nature, that in his opinion it implicated Her Majesty's Ministers and all parties who permitted these enormities without taking the proper and constitutional course to prevent them. The hon. and gallant Admiral the Member for Greenwich (Admiral Dundas) well knew that every officer was bound from time to time, and at the first opportunity, to send in a return of all proceedings and transactions in which he was engaged; and why then, he asked, at the end of the year, were not Sir Francis Collier's orders to Captain Farquhar sent home? It was no answer to say that Sir Francis Collier was dead, because it was the duty of his successor to make the return. Still these instructions had never yet been produced. He had held in his hand the report of Captain Farquhar, which, after referring to the operations of the cutters Albatross and Royalist against the Dyaks, went on to state, that the Dyaks, who were attacked in their prahus, being almost devoid of fire-arms, were incapable of standing against our armed force, which destroyed everything in its way, meeting with little or no resistance. He would trouble the House with a brief recapitulation of some of these enormities, and he did not believe it possible that any unprejudiced person could hear these statements and not support his Motion for an inquiry. He found in a Parliamentary paper, No. 378 of the present Session, the following letter from Captain Wallage to Captain Johnstone:— Hon. Company's steamer Nemesis, Aug. 26, 1849. Sir—I have the honour to inform you that, on the 20th of July, I received instructions from Captain Farquhar, of Her Majesty's sloop Albatross, senior officer in Borneo, to prepare to proceed against some piratical stations between the rivers Sarawak and Tanjong Sirick, assisted by a native force under Sir James Brooke, K.C.B., Rajah of Sarawak, and boats of Her Majesty's ships Albatross and Royalist. The Nemesis had hitherto remained in position, but ready to move at a moment's notice to any point whore her services might be required. The time for action had now arrived. Perceiving by the fire from Captain Farquhar's boats that the enemy had put to sea, I gave chase, and in a short time fell in with seventeen prahus, which had succeeded in escaping from" him, and were making in line a-beam for the Batang Lupar; on coming abreast of them I fired the starboard broadside with canister shot along the whole line, the nearest prahu being about twenty or thirty yards distant; the small-arm men at the same time keeping up a constant and important fire on them. We then wore, breaking the line, and driving many prahus on shore in a very crippled state, where they fell an easy prey to a division of native boats under Mr. Steel, of Sarawak, who did good service without interfering with our fire. We now followed five prahus which still pressed on for the Batang Lupar, and, on coming up with them, passed round each successively, and destroyed them in detail, by keeping up a constant fire of grape shot and musketry, until they drifted past us as helpless logs, without a living being on board, their crews having either been killed or jumped overboard, with the hope of swimming on shore, which few could possibly accomplish. August 3. The force proceeded up the river Pakao (a branch of the Sarebas), leaving the Nemesis to guard the main river, where we captured or destroyed fifty-eight of the enemy, who were trying to make their escape up the river Paddi. On the 7th the force returned, having captured and burnt (after a slight resistance) two piratical towns, a quantity of paddy, salt, cotton, &c, and on the 10th the whole force assembled at the Rijang, and proceeded up that river to a branch named Kanowitt, up which the boats went to a distance of forty miles, and destroyed several villages on the banks. On the 18th we anchored off the town of Kanowitt, which is situated in a strong position at a point of land commanding two rivers, and, as the inhabitants had been aiding the piratical towns, Her Majesty's Consul General determined that they should pay a fine, which, after a short delay, they did, and the force returned to Sarawak. The whole gist of his Motion depended upon this point—whether the Dyaks who were thus massacred in hundreds were pirates or not—whether they had been acting, or ever did act, as pirates; and he believed he could establish the negative of that proposition to the satisfaction of the House. Now a paper had been presented that very day to both Houses of Parliament, by command of Her Majesty, but upon what ground it was laid before them, no man could possibly conjecture. It was made up of what were called historical notes and correspondence concerning piracies in the Eastern Archipelago. That document stated that the numerous tribes who were guilty of piracy in those seas used boats or prahus, each containing forty or sixty men, and armed with small cannon; that they often sailed in fleets of six or seven boats, sometimes of twenty boats, and, on extraordinary occasions, of even 100; and they pursued their prey by the combined assistance of sails and oars. But throughout the whole of that document the Dyaks of the Sakarran and the Sarebas were not so much as mentioned—there was not a word about those tribes to which the 1,500 or 2,000 persons who were massacred belonged. He wished the House, therefore, to draw a distinction between those who were pirates and those who were not. What would be thought, if, because a murder had been committed in the square in which he lived, everybody belonging to that square was to be put to death? Yet that was only a fair analogy of what had been done in the indiscrimate slaughter of these Dyaks. Now, in order to show the irregularity and illegality of these proceedings, he would refer the House to the Act of Parliament against pirates, which, while it provided that if they resisted they were to be killed, also provided that if they made no resistance they should be taken and brought to trial. What should he said then of this case, where men were suspected to be pirates yet offered no resistance, while themselves, their wives, and children were destroyed? In addition to this we entered into a treaty on the 27th of May 1847 with the Sultan of Borneo, which authorised us to enter the Bornean seas with a view to the suppression of piracy, and to seize all vessels engaged in that illegal act; but it was stipulated that all persons offending should be reserved for the judgment of the proper authorities. Those unfortunate persons had never been reserved for such judgment; and he contended, therefore, that both the Act of Parliament and the treaty had been broken. In addition to this, the Admiralty order to Sir Francis Collier was to the effect that he should rather endeavour to check piracy by encouraging a good understanding, and by the observance of treaties, than by engaging in hostile expeditions. In none of these cases was there the least compliance with the Act of Parliament, the treaty, or the orders of the Admiralty. [The hon. Member proceeded to read extracts from public and private correspondence.] The first letter referred to was one from Sir Thomas Cochrane, then commander-in-chief in the China Seas, in which the admiral informed Sir James Brooke that much more was to be done for the repression of piratical habits amongst the tribes of the Bornean coast by the spread of commerce and Christianity, than by operations of a coercive nature. Another letter from Sir Thomas Cochrane, dated March 5, gave directions that if a vessel was suspected to be a pirate it was to be detained, not blown out of the water. Not a single authority in support of the proceedings which had been adopted, from either the Admiralty or the commander-in-chief, could be produced. Finding it impossible to obtain from either Her Majesty's Government or the East India Company any information, or one single iota of proof that the Sarebas and other tribes were in the habit of foraging for heads, as was asserted, he (Mr. Hume) had had recourse to the naval officers and others on the station at the time, in order to learn what conclusion they had arrived at regarding the character or conduct of these tribes. But he would first give the opinion of Sir James Brooke himself as to the Sarebas, in order to show that the men were utterly unfit and unqualified to contend with Europeans, and unacquainted with the use of guns or muskets. In 1845 Sir James Brooke wrote that— The natives who are addicted to piracy and robbery are exceptions to the general rule; spear and sword comprise their only weapons; they have no mukets or fire-arms, and never use them; from their great dread of fire-arms, they can be kept in subjection by a very small body of men. This was Sir James Brooke's own account of the men whom he afterwards designated and treated as pirates. He might also refer to the work of Mr. George Windsor Earle, published in 1833 or 1834, who declared that the Sarebas did not deserve the character given to them. As he (Mr. Hume) understood that one of the officers of the East India Company's service had commanded on the coast of Borneo, he applied to that gentleman for information, and received from him the following reply:— Dec. 3, 1850. I have just received your note, and I am sorry that I am not in town to call upon Mr. Hume. When I first heard of Sir James Brooke's expedition I was led to suppose that the Dyaks in question were noted and desperate pirates; but I subsequently learnt that they were merely enemies of the Sarawak tribe, and had been so for many generations, in fact from time immemorial. During the sixteen months that I was stationed on the coast of Borneo, I never heard of or saw a pirate, which greatly disappointed me, as I was led to suppose that the coast abounded with them. From information that I received from one of the principal merchants of Singapore, I learnt that small coasting vessels under the English flag had been in the habit of trading to and from Bruni for the last twenty-five years, and that they had never been molested; so I have come to the conclusion that the enemies of the Sarawak tribe are not pirates or enemies of this great and happy land; and I cannot help telling you that from all I have heard I am thankful that the ship I commanded was not engaged in the late affair. If an inquiry were instituted, whether by commission or otherwise, he (Mr. Hume) could bring forward officers who were acquainted with the facts to sustain his statements; and though he did not wish to aggravate the charges that were preferred against Sir James Brooke, he did desire to see the character of this country cleared, and the cause of humanity vindicated. He might remind the House that since he first brought this subject under their notice, the Government had repealed the Act of Parliament under which, within two years, no less than 128,000l had been paid as head-money for the murder of persons whom he considered as innocent and unoffending men. He had letters from Captain Young and Captain Daniell, also of the Indian navy. The former officer said, under date of Bombay, January 17, 1851— You wish me to give an opinion on the affair with the Dyaks on the night of the 31st of July, 1849, apparently under the impression that I was present on that occasion. I had, however, returned to India some six months previously. I was on the coast of Borneo in command of the hon. Company's steam-frigate Auckland from March to December, 1848, and during that time I once visited Sarawak. I do not feel myself justified in giving an opinion on the affair in question, being doubtful how far that would be consistent with my duty as a Government servant. I am, however, perfectly willing, if called on officially, to give any information in my power. Captain Daniell, writing from Plymouth, December 9, 1850, said— I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 6th instant; and in reply I have the pleasure to acquaint you that I was in command of the hon. Company's steam-frigate Semiramis, stationed on the coast of Borneo, from March, 1849, to May, 1850, during which time I never fell in with a pirate. As regards Sir James Brooke's expedition against the Dyaks in question, I beg to state that I never heard of their having molested an English or foreign vessel. Yet, though such testimony was borne in their favour, death and murder had been dealt out against those unoffending people. He (Mr. Hume) had also a letter from an officer on board a steam frigate in the following terms:— October 28, 1850. I opine that no person has any business to voluntarily enter a witness-box, unless he has some positive evidence to give on the occasion in question. Now, the question is, what have I to say regarding the massacre of Malay pirates (so called) in 1842? Simply that I was stationed at Labuan for the protection of the island from—to—in the—that I made three subsequent trips, and remained a few days each time; and that I paid a flying visit to Sarawak in the same vessel. In all these trips I never fell in with any pirates, nor did anything I heard there lead me to infer that the Malays in that neighbourhood were given to piracy, in the sense generally taken of that term by Englishmen. What I inferred was, that the different tribes were given to war upon each other, as their more civilised brethren in other parts of the world are. No person that had seen their prahus could have any great dread of them as sea pirates; indeed, so little are they dreaded, that vessels so small as forty-five tons, with crews of eight or ten men, and they Malays, with a single European to navigate, run constantly between Singapore and Borneo Proper, without any dread of them. Being obliged to leave Labuan from ill health, and no other opportunity offering at the time, I went to Singapore from that place in a schooner of forty-five tons, with a crew of four Malays, one maalam or navigator, and an Indian Lascar or tindal, accompanied by Lieutenant Rideout, of the 21st Madras Native Infantry, and our servants, our only arms a double-barrelled fowling-piece, and that in its case in the hold. It is true this latter was in what is called the bad season, when their prahus do not venture out, but the trading vessels before alluded to run constantly throughout the year. The Act of Parliament required, before a hostile shot could be legally fired by the commander of a vessel of war, the colours to be hoisted, and a blank gun to be fired; then only was the officer in command freed from a charge of murder, if death ensued from his proceedings. Was any precaution of this kind taken in the case of Sir James Brooke's engagements with these unfortunate natives? No; but death and destruction were immediately dealt upon them. He had in his possession a letter written by the Hon. Captain Hastings, to whom he had addressed some inquiries, dated February 14, 1851, in which that gallant officer said— I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 13th instant, transmitting the enclosed letter for my perusal, and acquainting me that it is your intention to bring before the House of Commons the conduct of Sir James Brooke on the 31st of July, 1849; and, as my conduct has been reflected upon in several public letters and documents, you trust that I will not object to state the circumstances that induced me to refuse compliance with Sir James Brooke's request on the occasion referred to in the enclosed. In reply I have the honour to state, that the reasons which induced me to refuse compliance on the occasion in question having been brought at the time under the notice of my superiors, and by them approved of, I am precluded from offering you any statement of the matter. Captain Hastings was called upon to assist Sir James Brooke; he refused to do so; and the reasons he assigned for that refusal were considered sufficient. If, then, the refusal of assistance by Captain Hastings was approved by his superiors, why did they also approve the conduct of Captain Farquhar in rendering aid to Sir James Brookes? He (Mr. Hume) would now read to the House a communication he had received from a gentleman who had been for twenty-eight years a resident at Singapore, and who knew that he was anxious to get information on this subject. His correspondent said— Having read your suggestions from the Daily News of 22nd March respecting Borneo, and the supposed piratical expedition of July, 1849, under the command of Captain Farquhar, I have been induced to offer the following remarks on the Malays from Pontiana to Maludu Bay:—I lived in Singapore seven years, and at Labuan two and a half years. I was the first adventurer to that island after it was taken possession of by the British Government; and I worked the coal mine under contract for the Admiralty from April 1847, to July 1849, when the Eastern Archipelago Company took possession of said mine. During the first fifteen months of that period I was the only inhabitant except the Malays on the island, with not even the corporal's guard to protect me. While working the coal mine, I often had occasion to leave my wife and children at Victoria Bay, about ten miles distant, for fourteen and twenty days together, when my presence was required at the mine, and on one occasion sixty days, showing that, if at that early period the Malays had wished to commit any acts of dishonesty, they could have done so with impunity on my stores during my absence from home; yet we never experienced other than the greatest respect from the Malays. I have no hesitation in saying, I would as soon venture on a trading voyage on the coast of Borneo as that of England, or any other coast. While speaking of Malays, I must not omit to mention the case of a young man named Burns, who left Labuan in a native prahu to visit the Bintoolan river in search of antimony ore, with none but Malays accompanying him. He stayed there some three or four months, and was supplied with every necessary by the Malays. The Bintoolan river is about half way from Sarawak to Labuan. When, however, Governor Brooke was informed of Mr. Burns being at the Bintoolan river, he despatched the hon. company's steamer Phlegethon to fetch him away and land him at Labuan, which was done. Mr. Burns lived there with me, and spoke in the highest terms of the Malays during his stay among them at the Bintoolan river. There can be only one opinion about the late massacre of the Malays formed by anybody acquainted with Sir James Brooke or Sarawak—that it was to murder them into subjection to the Sarawak Government. That Sir James Brooke is very much opposed to any European adventurers being on the coast of Borneo, has been shown in the case of Burns and others. Neither are Europeans allowed to visit or reside at Sarawak. This expedition was long talked of at Labuan; but I never heard it said to be undertaken on account of piracies; the alleged reason being that some Malays had made an attack on Sarawak and taken some heads, which is a common mode of warfare among the Malays. I never heard it was for acts of piracy, neither that any parties had suffered as such; neither do I, or any other parties having a practical knowledge of the proceedings, believe one iota of it. That letter he received from Mr. William Henry Miles. He would also beg the attention of the House to the following passage from a document signed in 1851 by fifty-three merchants of Singapore:— We beg to testify our cordial approval of your valuable and persevering exertions as a member of the Imperial Legislature, to call the attention of Parliament, and of the British public, to the measures which have been pursued against the communities of the Sarebas and Sakarran Dyaks; inhabiting territories on the coast of Borneo adjacent to Sarawak, and to discriminate between the usages and situation of these tribes and the piracies of the formidable marauders of the Archipelago, who have so long been known under the names of Illanuns or Lanuns, Sooloos, and Balaninis. It is a fact perfectly notorious in this settlement, that until within these few years the alleged piracies of the Dyaks had never been heard of, and that the first circumstance which in any particular manner drew public attention in the Straits to the existence of the Sarebas and Sakarrans as hordes of pirates, was the invasion of their countries by Captain the Hon. Henry Keppel, in Her Majesty's ship Dido—a measure which was at the time commented on by many here as unjustifiable. There is not one among us who ever heard the captain of a merchant vessel, or the nacoda of a trading prahu, mention their having seen a Dyak pirate; and the circumstance of either the one or the other of them having fallen in with or been attacked by prahus which were propelled by paddles, and had neither masts nor sails, would have been a novelty which could not have failed to attract attention, to say nothing of the want of fire-arms; and you will observe that, according to the depo- sition (printed in the Parliamentary papers regarding Borneo piracy) of Siap, a Sadong Malay, a prisoner taken from the Sarebas on the 31st of July, 1819,'there were not more than four small brass guns' in the whole fleet, although it could not have numbered less than 3,000 or 3,500 men; while it is a notorious fact that the same number of guns often forms the armament of a single Malay Bugis, or other trading prahu of the Archipelago. It is, of course, morally impossible for us to aver that the Sarebas and Sakarran Dyaks never have committed what we understand to be piracy; but the current testimony of every account which we are aware of being before the public regarding the Dyak races must be wholly rejected if every case of an attack by the Sarebas and Sakarrans against a neighbouring territory, whether inhabited by Malays or Dyaks, is to be considered an act of piracy. Such, however, appears to have been the principle acted on in regard to them from first to last, as the history of every invasion, and every attack of which they have been the object, will abundantly prove. It appears to us that the most that can be said for those who advocate their slaughter as pirates is, that the actual character of these tribes is matter of doubt. In the face of the tremendous carnage of the 31st of July, we will not here undertake to say that they were not pirates; but we confidently affirm our opinion that the evidence of their being pirates is the very opposite of being satisfactory. We conclude these observations with the expression of an earnest hope that Parliament will see fit to accede to your motion for inquiry, without which there can be no issue of this question satisfactory to the public mind. He should be surprised if there was any opposition to his proposal for an inquiry, because he found that Sir James Brooke himself said, in a letter he had addressed to the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that he had no objection to inquiry. He thought at was only just to Sir James Brooke, as well as for the satisfaction of the public, that that gentleman's character should, if possible, be vindicated; but could the stain which now attached to it be wiped away without inquiry? Sir James Brooke was the first person who had denounced the Dyaks as pirates; but it appeared, from the class of boats used by the Dyaks, that it was impossible they could be pirates. He (Mr. Hume) would ask the House if he had not made out a strong case for inquiry? He might be told, however, that Sir James Brooke had obtained the certificate of the Recorder of Sincapore, Sir Christopher Rawlinson. Now, although he (Mr. Hume) entertained high respect for judicial officers, and though Sir Christopher Rawlinson had undoubtedly the power, upon being satisfied on the subject, to give such a certificate, he (Mr. Hume) did not understand why that circumstance should prevent inquiry. He (Mr. Hume) had an opinion of two law officers, that the proceedings of the Recorder, Sir Christopher Rawlinson, were incorrect. Sir Christopher Rawlinson, at Malacca, upon the depositions of certain witnesses taken before him, although not a man of the two thousand persons who were the subject of the certificate was examined, gave a certificate that the number of persons killed by the armed force on the 31st July was 500, and that the number not taken or killed was 2,140. What was the nature of the evidence adduced before him? A Commission was appointed, the members of which, the Rev. C. Macdougal and Arthur Cruickshank, were named by Sir James Brooke. The person the most implicated in the transaction, Sir James Brooke himself, made an affidavit at variance with all his previous proceedings. There had been an address sent to Sir James Brooke from some place in Borneo; but upon inquiry it turned out that out of twenty-seven houses only thirteen signed, and fourteen refused to sign, so that it was not signed by almost all, as had been represented; and the community being so divided, that address might be considered as nothing. Another address to Sir James Brooke from Batavia had now been published; but, coming in at the last hour, it had the appearance of being prepared for the occasion. In his answer to this address, Sir James Brooke observed, that there was no question of the existence of piracy, or the necessity for its suppression. No doubt of that, the Dutch and the Spanish had been employed praiseworthily in attacking and destroying the real pirates, the Illanuns and Sooloos. But did Sir James Brooke ever attack the real pirates? No; he attacked none but the poor Dyaks. He (Mr. Hume) had been invited to appear at Sarawak. What business had he at Sarawak? If he was to go, he should expect he would not say what. But now, the Government having adopted the proceeding, it was a question how far they were implicated; and inquiry was demanded on their account as well as for the character of Sir James Brooke and of the country itself. It would be remembered that he (Mr. Hume) asked the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary whether Sir James Brooke continued to be our Commissioner and Consul General to the Sultan and independent chiefs of Borneo; and the answer was in the affirmative. He then asked the hon. Under Secretary for the Colonies whether Sir James Brooke still held the appointment of Go- vernor of Labuan; and again the answer was in the affirmative. He then asked the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary whether Sarawak had ever been acknowledged as an independent State by our Government, and inquired respecting some proceedings on the part of the United States, and a recognition of Sir James Brooke as the independent sovereign of Sarawak; and the answer of the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary was, that the Government had received information that a treaty of commerce between the United States and Sarawak had been proposed, but was not yet concluded; that Sarawak was not considered by Her Majesty's Government as British territory; that he (Viscount Palmerston) could not precisely state to what the relations between Sir James Brooke and the Sultan of Borneo might lead, but that, as far as Great Britain was concerned, the British Government held no sovereignty over Sarawak. Now, he (Mr. Hume) contended that it was illegal for a British subject to exercise authority under such circumstances. It would be in the recollection of the House that the New Zealand Company obtained land in that island from the natives without the assent of the Crown. Subsequenly their right to do so was disputed; and in May, 1841, Dr. Lushington gave the following opinion:— I am of opinion that the grants obtained by the New Zealand Association are not valid without the consent of the Crown. I do not think that the right to this territory is at present vested in the Crown; but I am of opinion that the Crown might oust the association, for I think it competent to the Crown to prevent such settlements being made by British subjects, even though they are made in a country not under the sovereignty of the Crown. I fully adopt the broad principle that colonies cannot be founded without the consent of the Crown. It would appear, therefore, that Sir James Brooke could not be Rajah of Sarawak without the sanction of the British Government, and yet that such sanction had not been given to him. The fact also that the murder of these 2,000 men had cost us 27,000l. was another reason why there should be an inquiry whether Sir James Brooke was justified in the course which he had adopted. The present question was a matter of vast importance, and a commission of inquiry should also be sent out. He had to lament on the present occasion the absence of the late right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, because he had in his possession a letter from that right hon. Gentleman, in which, after reading an account of these transactions in the papers, he expressed his opinion that an inquiry ought to take place. It was dated Nov. 28, 1849:— Whitehall, Nov. 28, 1849. Sir—I thank you for the communication with which you have favoured me. I trust that Her Majesty's Government will feel it to be their imperative duty to make an immediate and complete inquiry into those circumstances which have induced you to address yourself to the First Lord of the Treasury. I read with great pain the account of the transactions to which you refer, but shall suspend a final judgment upon the proceedings adopted by Sir James Brooke against some of the Dyaks in Borneo, until fuller explanations with regard to them be given.—I am, &c. (Signed) "ROBERT PEEL. Henry Wise, Esq., 34, Cornhill. He (Mr. Hume) now asked for those explanations which the late Sir Robert Peel said, on the spur of the moment, ought to be given; and from expressions which had afterwards fallen from that right hon. Gentleman, he (Mr. Hume) was satisfied that if he were present amongst them that night, he would support an inquiry into these transactions. A commission was sent abroad last year to inquire respecting the signature of certain documents by a captain in Her Majesty's service; that was done without hesitation, and he considered that was a precedent for his Motion. It might have been wiser on his part, perhaps, simply to move for inquiry, but he had felt that he ought to indicate the points of inquiry; and he now asked the House to have these statements tested. Nothing less than full inquiry would satisfy the public; it was due to the honour and character of the country—due to the Government—due to Sir James Brooke, whose character, with such charges lying against him, would be blasted unless there was an inquiry. It would be to him (Mr. Hume) a great satisfaction if it should turn out that he had taken too strong a view—an erroneous view of the ease. With regard to blame to be attached to the Government for not instituting an inquiry sooner, he would say that he believed they had not been aware of many of the facts he had stated. Let the whole matter now be probed to the bottom. He appealed to the noble Lord at the head of the Government to let a Commission be sent out to the spot, there to take evidence. Let the country be freed from the stigma which rested upon it, and such a transaction (if his view of it was right) prevented from ever again taking place. If Sir James Brooke was right, let his character he freed from stigma.

Motion made, and Question proposed— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to appoint Her Royal Commission to inquire into the proceedings of Sir James Brooke on the North Western Coast of Borneo, since his appointment as Her Majesty's 'Commissioner and Consul General to the Sultan and Independent Chiefs of Borneo;' and, especially, into the attack made by Her Majesty's and the Honourable East India Company's Naval Forces, under his advice and direction, on certain wild tribes of that island, called the Sakarran and Sarebas Dyaks, on the night of the 31st July, 1849; and further, that Her Majesty will graciously command, that the opinion of Her Majesty's Judges be taken and laid by Her Majesty's Ministers before this House, touching the legality or otherwise of the holding by Sir James Brooke, at one and the same time, of the following apparently incompatible offices, viz., of Sovereign Ruler of Sarawak, he being a British subject; of Her Majesty's Commissioner and Consul General to the Sultan and Independent Chiefs of Borneo, he, Sir James Brooke, residing at Sarawak, where there is no Independent Chief; and also of the appointment of Governor of the British Settlement of Labuan, distant 300 miles from Sarawak, at which British Settlement Sir James Brooke has not been actually present more than a few months during the last three years.


seconded the Motion.


said, that he was present last year when the hon. Member for Montrose brought before the House a proposition similar to that which he submitted to it on the present occasion. He had not at that time any particular interest in the subject, nor had he then the honour of a personal acquaintance with Sir James Brooke; he had not then any more accurate acquaintance with the question than was possessed by other Members of the House, and indeed by all persons who took an interest in what concerned the interest and welfare of the country, and the character of its public servants. He listened to the debate upon that occasion with the view of forming his opinion upon the charges made against Sir James Brooke; and having heard the discussion, the conclusion to which he arrived was, that the case had broken down—that the charges had not been established, or that the character of Sir James Brooke came out clear from the ordeal to which it had been subjected. In that feeling he was satisfied the body of the House sympathised, and for himself he knew not that he had ever given a vote with more complete and decided conviction, than when he voted in the majority of 169, by which that Motion was rejected. The hon. Member now complains that, upon that occasion, matters of a private nature, which had little to do with the subject really under discussion, were introduced into the debate by those who spoke in defence of Sir James Brooke. Undoubtedly it was so. He was not now going to say one word of these matters, because he thought that the character and conduct of Sir James Brooke might be left without fear to the public documents before the House; but at the same time he must tell the hon. Member for Montrose, that when he made something in the nature of a direct charge of murder against a man like Sir James Brooke, he must not be surprised if the friends of that gentleman were not satisfied with simply proving that the charge was false and untenable, but went on to show that the sources from which the calumnies emanated were foul and impoisoned. He (Mr. Headlam) was a lawyer, and lawyers had a maxim, that a man ought not to be tried twice for the same offence. That doctrine he believed to be formed on true justice, wise policy, and experience. It was wise and just, because it rendered it necessary for those who made a charge to complete their case at the time they brought it forward, and prevented them going on attempting to eke it out by subsequent matter. But, though generally wise and true, he would not carry the doctrine to any extreme or absurd length. If any great public object was to be attained by this second trial—if the hon. Member for Montrose had now brought before the House any important evidence which was not before it on the former discussion; any new matter that might be likely to influence the opinion of the Government, and induce the House to reverse its former decision, then possibly he might have been justified in dragging Sir James Brooke again before the House and country. But after listening to the speech of the hon. Gentleman, he appealed to the House whether it was not the fact, that no material facts had been adduced in corroboration of what had been before the House on the previous occasion—whereas, on the contrary, all the new public documents which had been laid before the House, so far from establishing any case against Sir James Brooke, greatly strengthened the evidence in his favour. Every new paper, fact, and deposition, tended to make it clear that the verdict given by the House on the former occasion was a right and true one, and showed that they ought to reject the proposition now made by even a larger majority than upon the former occasion. It was necessary to be accurate in their conception of what was the nature of the charges brought forward. The Motion made by the hon. Gentleman was a long one, and it had been varied very materially since it was first laid before the House. The House was now called on first to ask Her Majesty to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into the proceedings of Sir James Brooke generally; secondly, they were called on to ask specially for an inquiry into the events which occurred on the night of the 29th of July, 1849. After those two subjects of inquiry, which in themselves necessarily, from what had taken place, involved severe charges against Sir James Brooke, it would be found that in a subsequent part of the Motion it was proposed to ask Her Majesty to obtain the opinion of the Judges upon what was really a question of State policy; namely, whether the same individual should be Governor of Labuan or independent Rajah of Sarawak. Whatever might be the opinion of Members upon this last question, they could not vote for the Motion, which mixed up two things so completely incompatible. In England it was not usual to combine a question of policy with an indictment for murder. He did not think there was anything improper in Sir James Brooke holding the various offices which he possessed. His influence in Sarawak suggested good reason why he should be appointed Governor of Labuan. But even supposing that doubt might exist on the subject, it was quite absurd to refer such a question to the Judges of the land; it was out of their sphere to give an opinion on any such point; and even if the Judges constituted the right tribunal for adjudicating on that matter, still they could not enter into it on the present occasion, when an opinion upon a question of State policy might be construed into a verdict upon a charge of murder. Leaving then that portion of the Motion, let the House turn to what was seriously the charge against Sir James Brooke. After listening to the speech of the hon. Member for Montrose, the case which was made seemed to be this—he alleged that the tribes of Sarebas and Sakarran were not pirates, but harmless, unoffending native tribes, or at any rate innocuous from their want of arms and other causes against European forces. It was alleged that all they had done was to carry on intertribal wars with one another, but that there was nothing like general and open piracy. There was a second charge, that, assuming acts had been done by the natives which were of an equivocal description, still the particular attack of July, 1849, was not justified by any act of piracy at the time when they were attacked by Sir James Brooke, and that, even if so, that attack was marked by an unjustifiable degree of cruelty. These were the charges; and it now remained to consider what was the evidence on the subject. In addition to the various papers which had been laid before the House since the last debate on the subject, there had been a most remarkable document presented to them that very morning. He alluded to the book containing the proceedings of the Duch Government with respect to piracy in the Eastern Archipelago; and though he had not been able to go very minutely through this paper, yet he had satisfied himself that it materially bore out the mass of other evidence which had been produced. The hon. Member for Montrose read an extract from it containing a description of these pirates, which appeared drawn in tolerably strong colours; but the hon. Gentleman stopped at the most important passage, which gives an accurate description of these pirates. It will be found at page 62 of the paper before the House, and is in these words:— Islets rendered almost inapproachable by the hidden rocks with which they are surrounded, serve as places of retreat to the pirates. From the midst of these rocks they dart unexpectedly with their prahus, full of men, not only on the ships of the natives of the country, but even upon those of Europeans, availing themselves of calm contrary winds, or the insufficiency of the crews, in order to satiate their audacious rapacity. Should they fear being able to sell for money the crew they have made prisoners, or of being overtaken in their flight, they then massacre without pity every soul they have taken, even the women and children. It is not unfrequent to see them exercise the same cruelty upon a crew which have valiantly defended themselves against their attacks. The hon. Member for Montrose interrupts me to say, that they are not the tribes in question—let us see the evidence on this subject. The hon. Member told us, and told us truly, that Borneo is a large place. One would scarcely, therefore, have expected that in this volume reference would have been made to these two particular rivers mentioned in the Motion before the House. Although these papers were written long before the transactions now in question took place, curiously enough they identify with the utmost precision the rivers Sarehas and Sakarran, as the abode of piracy. At page 107 will be found the following passage:— The schooner Haai, stationed at Sarebas, succeeded in inflicting severe loss upon a flotilla of thirty Dyak prahus which had dared to lay in wait for her. In the same manner the coasts of Penteanah were disturbed by Dyak pirates. At Mampawa they came to blows with them. Sheriff Mohamet, the commandant of the district, having learned that nine of their prahus were at the mouth of that river, each manned by from thirty to forty bandits, resolved to attack them with only three prahus. They fought so closely, that scarcely any other weapon than the klewang (sabre) was used. The commandant had thirty-seven men killed; the loss of the enemy amounted to eighty. It appeared that these Dyaks came from Sakarran, a locality situated in the interior of the country to the north of Sarebas, which is only accessible to the small light vessels of the Dyaks, of slender form, and of which all the parts are united with canes. In their voyage they burn and massacre along the shores all that is within their reach. As trophies, they carry off the skulls of the victims of their ferocity. They have no firearms, but generally use the klewang, and javelins or spears of wood hardened by fire. [Mr. COBDEN: Hear, hear!] The hon. Member cheered the statement that they had no firearms. On the occasion, however, when Sir James Brooke attacked them, they had four brass guns, and all the prahus were armed with musketry. The hon. Member for Montrose had asked triumphantly, "Who ever heard of Dyak pirates? "After this description of them, it would be very difficult to deny either the existence of Dyak pirates, or that this came from that very river the Sarebas or Sakarran. To come back to the question of the mode in which these tribes were armed, and the degree of their power. It appears, from Captain Keppell's despatch in 1844, when these same pirates were attacked, that "no less than 56 guns were taken, as well as vast quantities of ammunition, not less than a ton and a half of gunpowder." How, then, is this consistent with the allegation that the Dyak pirates had no firearms? The fact was, that the Dyaks did not act by themselves; they were accompanied and supported by Malays who were in all respects completely equipped with firearms. Moreover, on some occasions, the whole fleet of Malays and Dyaks was set in motion by some Arab Sheriff. The whole subject was fully explained by Sir James Brooke in his Memorandum on Piracy, written before these events took place. In one passage he states that— The pirates on the coast of Borneo may be classed into those who make long voyages in large heavy-armed prahus, such as the IIlanuns, Balanigui, &c, and the lighter Dyak fleets, which make short but destructive excursions in swift prahus, and seek to surprise rather than openly to attack their prey; a third, and probably the worst class, are usually half-bred Arab sheriffs, who, possessing themselves of the territory of some Malay State, form a nucleus for piracy—a rendezvous and market for all the roving fleets; and although occasionally sending out their own followers, they more frequently seek profit by making advances in food, arms, and gunpowder, to all who will agree at an exorbitant rate to repay them in slaves. They would thus see that the Dyaks of the Sarebas and Sakarran were complete pirates, and that though by themselves they might not be completely armed, yet, when in co-operation with the Malays, under their Arab Sheriffs, they were fully equipped. With respect to the course to be adopted with the view of suppressing these pirates, it is very curious that in the paper before the House, containing the proceedings of the Dutch Government, there is a document most strangely bearing out the views of Sir James Brooke. It was written in 1830, and is a translation from a report written in the Malay tongue. The writer, after stating various facts concerning piracy, states the result of his experience to be, that the pirates should be attacked upon precisely such an occasion and in such a manner as was practised by Sir James Brooke; the passage will be found at page 86 of the paper before the House. It appears that without any combination between the Dutch Government, or the Malay writer and Sir J. Brooke, they both arrived at the same conclusion as to the proper mode of dealing with these pirates. In another part of the same document it is stated— The pirates only set out during the east monsoon. In the month of March, as soon as the east monsoon begins to be felt, and the sea is calm, the pirates quit their retreats, and betake themselves to places where they hope to meet with some merchant vessel. So soon as a vessel is in sight they start in pursuit, surround them with their small craft, and board. If the merchantman contrives to escape the pirate, he can continue his route without fear; in the contrary case the vessel is delivered up to pillage, and the crew are either murdered or made prisoners. Such is the conduct of the pirates during the whole of the east monsoon. Some hon. Gentlemen thought it strange that all vessels sailing near Borneo had not been attacked; but what he had just cited accounted for it? The fact was, that the piracies were only carried on during a portion of the year, so that vessels might even escape at particular seasons. In the year 1824 a treaty was entered into with the Netherlands for the express purpose of suppressing the Bornean pirates. At a later period Sir James Brooke was instructed by the Foreign Office to use his power and influence for the same purpose. Complaints were made by the mercantile community of this country; and, after all this, Sir J. Brooke, for having adopted the best mode of suppressing piracy, was stigmatised in that House as a murderer. The difficulty of establishing the case of Sir J. Brooke, really consisted in the magnitude and number of the proofs. Only those who had gone through the papers knew how complete it was; but if he were to read to the House the evidence bearing on Sarebas at one time, and on other places at others, each would seem but a small matter by itself. On the other hand, were he to read general evidence of the nature and extent of piracy, men might say that he did not bring the case home to the particular locality. He would now refer to a letter received by Sir J. Brooke from a person who was a perfect stranger to him—Mr. Nugent Nixon, chief officer of the coast-guard station. This gentleman said— Pardon me for addressing you, though a perfect stranger, on the subject of the charges brought against you by Messrs. Hume, Cobden, and others of that clique. As an officer of the Indian Navy, serving in the Honourable Company's steamer-of-war Ariadne, I had ample opportunities of experiencing the aggressive character of the Malay pirates who infest the coasts of Borneo, while cutting wood, for fuel, at Abbie, Amboong, and other places on our voyage to join the expedition in China. At Amboong I had, personally, a very narrow escape of my life, from an unexpected attack of these savages, after great professions on their part, of friendship, and offers of assistance in procuring the necessaries we required. At another place, to the northward, we only prevented the attack of three proas, filled with men, by taking the precaution of firing two 24-pounder shots across the bows of the foremost vessel when within an easy range, which of course sent them to the right about. The narrow limits of a letter prevent me from giving a detailed account of our adventures with the Malays on the coast of Borneo; but as Mr. Cobden, referring to your affair with the Sakarran and Sarebas pirates, although apparently admitting the fact of their piracy, seems to think it hardly worthy of consideration, as not committed on British vessels. I think ours, as an instance of a vessel of war being attacked by these daring marauders, sufficiently a case in point to convince Mr. Cobden, or the most sceptical of your detractors, of their delinquency. If you think that my examination before the Committee of the House of Commons would be likely to aid you in any degree, I shall be most happy to assist you by any means in my power. He wished to call the attention of the House to what occurred in 1844 and 1845, when also operations had been found necessary against these very pirates. He apologised to the House for the length of time that the case must take, but when charges of this kind were made against a gentleman who was struggling against difficulties in a foreign country, it was their duty thoroughly to investigate the whole case. In 1844 and 1845 an attack similar to that made by Sir J. Brooke was made by Captain Keppell. Captain Keppell, who was not in any way connected with Sir James Brooke, appeared to have been on the coast of Borneo in 1843; and, writing in 1844, stated that he had received the thanks of the Commander-in-Chief on the station for his services against the pirates. He said— I believe you are aware that last year I was recalled to China, before I had time to complete the arrangements I had made for putting down the different hordes of pirates that have so long infested this coast, to the great detriment of trade, and who are daily committing horrors disgraceful to humanity. I was then obliged to rest satisfied with the promise of some chiefs to abstain in future from piracy, while I made an example of the piratical tribe of Sarebas. On my arrival at Sarawak, I received information of numerous acts of piracy recently committed by two chiefs (Sheriff Satube and Mulak), both of whom have long been notorious for having carried on an organised system of piracy. I moreover learned that these chiefs had taken up and strongly fortified a position, in which they were prepared and determined to resist any European force that should endeavour to control their actions, and that from this position they had for the last three months incessantly harassed the entire coast. From the Rajah Muda Hassim I received a letter, a copy of which I have the honour to enclose; and taking into consideration the handsome manner my efforts to suppress piracy on this coast last year were acknowledged and appreciated by the Honourable Company's Resident Councillor at Singapore, and having also received the approbation of my Commander-in-Chief, as well as of the Lords of the Admiralty, I did not hesitate to at once carry out my former arrangements, which were rendered comparatively easy by the assistance of the steamer. Captain Keppell then gives a description of the different engagements that took place, and having done so he proceeds to say— Having punished the two principals, I next prepared to attack the Sakarran Dyaks, the most determined pirates and the most cruel savages in Borneo. They partially man and supply the war boats, which the Malays complete, furnishing the firearms and ammunition. They are said to muster about 10,000 warriors, and can put to sea with upwards of 100 prahus, carrying from 60 to 100 men each. There afterwards occurred these words:— I anticipate that great good must follow the last blow given to the only remaining pirates of any note on this north-west coast of Borneo. There is a depot now established for British goods at Sarawak; and during the three weeks that we had stopped the Sakarran pirates, the trade with the adjacent rivers increased considerably. No less than eight boats were prevented from crossing over to trade to Singapore this year, from the Sarawak River alone; and I may venture to express my conviction that the interests of British commerce will be materially advanced by a firm pursuance of measures for the correction of the piratical communities, not only on the coast of Borneo, but throughout the Archipelago. Now, it might he thought that the continuance of such measures was not a thing that could he expected from this country; but it should he observed that all that either Captain Keppell or Sir James Brooke thought to be requisite was that after the examples which had been made, there should be some slight supervision exercised to prevent the growth again of these piratical communities; and both seemed to entertain the opinion that only a very small force would be required for that purpose, and that after a certain number of years the habits of the people would become peaceable. That course so suggested had not been followed; the result was that in a few years the people forgot the lesson they had received, resumed their old habits, resorted to their former practices, and it became necessary in 1849 to make another example similar to that of 1844. A letter from Pangeran Muda Hassim to Captain Keppell may here be mentioned as giving an account of the state of piracy at that time; it contained these words:— We beg to let our friend Captain Keppell know, that the pirates of Sakarran, whom we mentioned List year, still continue their piracies by sea and land, and that many Malays under Sheriff Satube, who have been accustomed to send or to accompany the pirates, and to share in their spoil, have gone to the Sakarran River, with a resolve of defending themselves rather than accede to our wishes that they should abandon piracy. The following was the deposition of Dowich Malay, relative to piracy on the coast of Borneo:— I am nakodah of a trading boat; I have been six times to Singapore for commercial purposes. I arrived here this morning from Oyak, situated about three days' sail from Sarawak—I left forty-five days since; my boat is lb tons burthen, with a crew of thirty-four men and three guns. The coast of Borneo is infested with pirates, and has been so for years; I have been chased by pirates. The pirates consist principally of Lauddons and Dyaks. I have never been at Sakarran; I know there is such a place; a large number of Dyaks reside there; they are pirates, and commit ra- vages along the coast; I have often been told that Sheriff Satube and Sheriff Mulak live at Sakarran; they are the chiefs of that place; but whether they exercise any direct control over the piratical Dyaks, I am not prepared to say with certainty. The Dyaks of Sarebas are notorious pirates. Such was the testimony of the natives; and he must say it was rather difficult to suppose that all these natives were involved in a conspiracy to misrepresent the facts of the case. He must now refer to a letter of Colonel Butterworth, Governor of Prince of Wales's Island, to the Secretary of the Government of India, which contains the following passage:— It will be observed that there was no lack of means or inclination to offer opposition; and when it is remembered that these are the most desperate set of pirates in the Malayan Archipelago, and were commanded by their chieftains at the very threshold of their homes, I feel assured that this expedition will be considered as no common undertaking. Further on he said— In the absence of any evidence from Captain Keppell regarding the piratical propensities of the chieftains he attacked, Sheriff Satube and Sheriff Mulak, I deemed it advisable to take the depositions of the nakodahs of two vessels from Borneo, now lying in the Singapore roads. These are also appended, and will distinctly show that these chieftains are, and have long been, the main instigators, and not unfrequently the principal actors, in the piratical cruelties and robberies committed between these settlements and Borneo. There was a passage afterwards which was important, because there were expressions in it which showed that Colonel Butterworth was not very friendly to Sir James Brooke personally, and which expressions were inconsistent with the supposition that the writer combined with Sir James Brooke to give a false complexion to the facts of the case. It was as follows:— If it be not proposed to upheld Mr. Brooke in his present position, I can hardly think it expedient to allow him and the undisciplined followers from his settlement to co-operate with us on such occasions as that under report. If, on the other hand, Mr. Brooke's settlement is to be considered under our protection or that of the British Government, I beg respectfully that I may have instructions to that effect, as I might be called upon to render that gentleman assistance against the neighbouring chiefs, who prior to the expedition meditated an attack upon him and the Rajah Pangeran Hassim, which led to their stockading themselves at Sarawak. From this it appeared that Colonel Butterworth rather threw cold water on the junction of Sir James Brooke with the forces of Her Majesty, and was desirous that if any credit were to be gained, it should be gained independently of him. What he had already quoted amply proved the existence of piracy. The next question was in what manner this piracy ought to he suppressed; and upon this subject the first document to refer to was the memorandum of Sir James Brooke on the suppression of piracy, which appeared to him a most able State paper, and which was fully borne out by all the facts in the Report from the Netherlands, and by the evidence of the native witnesses. On this point, and the mode of suppressing piracy, he must confess he was a little surprised to hear the doctrine laid down by the hon. Member for Montrose. The hon. Member seemed to think that with respect to pirates, who went about the seas murdering men and women and destroying vessels, no step whatever should be taken except that of capturing them, and sending them home for trial under the 3rd and 4th of Victoria; and that even this attempt to capture them should not be made unless they were caught in the very fact of committing an act of piracy. Such was not his view of the manner in which piracy ought to be put down, nor was it his view that had ever been adopted by any nation in the world. It certainly was not in conformity with the spirit of the treaty between this country and the Netherlands. He had no hesitation in saying that Sir James Brooke, in his memorandum, had rightly laid down what ought to be the practice. In that document, written before these transactions took place, he had stated his views to the Government; and if those opinions were not correct, he ought not to have been allowed to proceed; but no disapprobation of his intended conduct had been expressed. It was clear to him that if such disapproval did exist, it should be stated as a guide to his future actions. In this memorandum Sir James said— I would especially urge that, to eradicate the evil, the pirate haunts must be burned and destroyed, and the communities dispersed, for merely to cruise against pirate prahus, and to forbear attacking them until we see them commit a piracy, is a hopeless and an endless task, harassing to our men, and can be attended with but very partial and occasional success whereas, on the contrary principle, what pirate would venture to pursue his vocation if his house be endangered, if he be made to feel in his own person the very ills he inflicts upon others? A question may arise as to what constitutes piracy, and whether in our efforts to suppress it we may not be interfering with the rights of native States to war one upon another. On the first point, it appears clear to me that the plunder or seizure of a peaceful or lawful trader on the high seas constitutes an act of piracy, without any reference to the nation or colour of the injured party. On the second point, we can only concede the right of war to recognised States. Chiefs who have seized on territory and arrogate independence (making their independence a plea for piracy), can never be allowed the right of declaring war or entering on hostilities with their neighbours, for all native trade must in that case be at an end, as the piratical chiefs, no longer in dread of punishment from European Powers, would doubtless declare war against every unwarlike native State which they did not need as a market for the sale of their slaves and plunder. Practically acting, however, on the broad principle that the seizure of any lawful trader constitutes piracy, I consider no injustice would be done to the native States, and no interference occur with their acknowledged rights; for in practice it would be easy to discriminate a war between native nations, from the piracies of lawless hordes of men; and without some such general principle, no executive officer could act with the requisite decision and promptitude to ensure the eradication of this great evil. With a post such as is proposed to be established, our measures for the suppression of piracy (after the punishment of Sheriff Hausman and the Balanigui) would advance step by step as our knowledge increased, and with alternate conciliation and severity, as the case might require, by detaching the recognised governments from the practice, and gradually forming amongst the chief men a friendly and English party, opposed to piracy, we should, I doubt not, speedily obtain our principal object of clearing the seas of marauders, and ultimately correct the natural propensity of the natives for piracy. In order to extend our commerce in these seas generally, and more particularly on the north-west coast of Borneo, it is requsite, 1st. That piracy be suppressed; 2nd. That the native governments be settled so as to afford protection to the poorer and producing classes; and, 3rd. That our knowledge of the interior should be extended, and our intercourse with the various tribes more frequent. He (Mr. Headlam) strongly recommended a perusal of the whole of this memorandum on the suppression of piracy to all Members of the House. How, then, stood the case before this attack in 1849? It was shown, that before this time, namely, in 1844, acts of piracy were frequent, and that an attack, sanctioned by authority, had been made for their suppression. As had been shown to the House, depositions in favour of the necessity of that attack, and of the success which attended it, were brought forward from a variety of quarters; the matter was thoroughly considered in this country, and the opinion of the public, and of the authorities, unquestionably expressed in favour of the measures that had been adopted. Immediately after this first attack on the pirates, they found Sir James Brooke expressing his opinion that, by the establishment of a slight system of super- vision, piracy might be prevented from arising in future. Unfortunately, his opinion was not then acted upon, and, accordingly, piracy once more became frequent in those waters. In a letter, dated February 2, 1850, Sir James Brooke said— The good effect of these attacks (alluding to the attacks of Captain Keppel) immediately became apparent, as they no longer ventured to take the sea in force, and the loss of life and injury to commerce on the coast was very greatly diminished. I made every exertion at that time to induce these communities to abandon their piratical habits. I frequently met their chiefs, promised them every protection, the free exercise of their own government and trade, and all the advantages which a peaceful people could desire. I dissuaded the sultan and rajahs of Brune from attempting to raise contributions from those rivers, which would have been done under the cloak of the English name; and I positively prohibited any retaliation on them by tribes who had long suffered from their piratical and indiscriminate system of murder and pillage. The good effects resulting from Captain Keppel's operations continued for two years; at the outset I was sanguine of permanent success. It became less so as time advanced, and in 1846 I was convinced that the former habits of this people were still too strong to be reclaimed by any peaceful moans, or through the influence of the very few chiefs amongst them who sincerely susported my views. It became too evident that as the impression left on the minds of this people from the punishment inflicted by Captain Keppel wore off, they would resume their piratical pursuits; and I know from the well-affected amongst them, that an opinion was prevalent that the attack had been a casual one, and was not likely to be repeated. In 1846 their depredations at sea became more frequent, but not of a formidable character; and it was only after my departure for England in July, 1847, that the pirates once more threw off all restraint, put to sea in largo fleets, devastated the coast, and incessantly harassed the trade, with great loss of life. In consequence of this increase of depredations on the part of the Malays and Dyaks, Sir J. Brooke made a communication to the officer commanding on that station, and instructions were issued by Admiral Collier that the necessary proceedings should be taken for the suppression of the evil. He (Mr. Headlam) recollected that last year when this question was debated, and when every accusation that could be raked up against Sir J. Brooke had been brought before the House and had failed, that then it was said that an inquiry must take place, because these instructions could not be produced. They were now produced, however, and most distinctly instructed Captain Farquhar what he was to do, and yet hon. Members were not satisfied. [Here the hon. Gentleman read the instructions transmitted by Ad miral Collier to Captain Farquhar to proceed to sea and to put himself in communication with Sir J. Brooke for the purpose of suppressing the pirates—a duty in the execution of which he had no doubt he would be successful.] There was not in the whole of these instructions one word that gave colour to the idea that Admiral Collier had an opinion contrary to that entertained by Sir J. Brooke, or that he disapproved of the proceedings taken by Captain Farquhar. Sir J. Brooke, then, being supported by orders of the Admiral at sea, and having a force assigned to him in compliance with his own recommendations, proceeded to suppress the acts of piracy committed in those seas in the manner he had already stated; and he would ask whether, under such circumstances, it was not his duty so to do? The next question which the House had to consider was, whether there had been any unnecessary severity used in this attack. The attack took place in the night, when about 150 prahus, filled with from 3,000 to 4,000 men, were on their way home to their river from a piratical expedition. The attack was made from different points, and, under the peculiar circumstances in which the forces were placed, there was no communication between them, nor any means by which at one point they could know what was going on at another; and this he thought ought to be a sufficient answer to those who made objections to the mode of attack. To him (Mr. Headlam) it did not appear very wonderful that out of three or four thousand pirates five hundred should have been killed. Such a slaughter was undoubtedly a subject of regret. He, for his part, regretted it most deeply. The practice of such a crime as piracy might not be a reason why we should despair of the future progress of the nation that practised it. We know that some of the noblest races in the world have, in their early history, been addicted to such crimes. If piracy, however, was a crime at which, when men plunged, they did, from the very nature of the case, run the hazard of their lives; upon the broadest and clearest grounds of true humanity it was necessary that such a practice should be stopped, not 'merely for the purpose of putting a stop to the immediate evils and sufferings that it occasioned, but, far more, because it prevented the seeds of civilisation taking root, and prevented the growth of trade and commerce among the nations of the earth. And here he would stop to say one word with reference to the statement that no European vessels were taken by these pirate Dyaks and Malays. The mode in which trade was carried on in these parts was, that the European vessels employed in it were sent to Singapore, which was a large mart for all the countries surrounding, and then from Singapore small hollow boats carried on the trade in the adjoining waters. It was on these small boats that the piracy was practised, and, so far as injury to trade was concerned, it was as fatal to attack them as it would be to attack the European vessels. In point of fact, European vessels also were so attacked, but their number in those seas was not great. He would read, as bearing on this point, the deposition of Orang Kaya, subsequently to the action:— Orang Kaya Sariel, of Mato, states, and solemnly declares, that about ten months ago, a large fleet of Malays and Dyaks entered the river; two of their boats came up to the boom placed across the stream below the houses, the remainder keeping out of sight. Finding they could not get over the boom, they returned and rejoined their comrades, part of whom then landed and advanced on the houses, those left in the boats ascending the river. A combined attack was made on the houses by the two parties, which was several times renewed, though the assailants were always beaten off by the superior fire of the Mato people. A small detached house was, however, at length taken, and the owners flying into the jungle, three of them were killed, and four others taken prisoners. The pirates then burned a large trading prahu just arrived from Singapore with piece goods, and several other boats, then re-embarked, and left the river. Sariel further states them to have been well armed with musketry, and that their numbers were so great he could not guess their amount. He recognised the Dyaks as from Sarebas, and several of the Malays he knew by sight. He further deposes that Mato has been many times attacked by the Sarebas Dyaks, and that they (the Mato men) had never attacked Sarebas. Sariel further deposes that he knows this to have boon the same fleet attacked and destroyed by the Europeans on their way to their own river. This deposition taken before me this 30th day of March, 1850, at Sarawak, Borneo. (Signed) "J. BROOKE, (Witnessed by) "W. W. BRERETON. From this document it appeared that this combined fleet of Malays and Dyaks had, in one instance at least, destroyed.a vessel carrying on this traffic in English goods from Singapore to Borneo. To return to the question whether any unnecessary cruelties had been exercised, either during the action or afterwards, he would read the following letter of Captain Farquharson:— I hereby declare that I was present at a con- sultation held on board Sir James Brooke's boat, in the Sarebas River, on the evening of the 1st of August, the day after the defeat of the piratical flotilla, to determine on our future operations; when it was proposed to Sir James to occupy a narrow neck of land between the rivers Remhes and Palo, in order to cut off the fugitives from the late flotilla, amounting, probably, to 3,000 men; by such occupation, and lining the banks with prahus, this would have been done almost to a man; but Sir James instantly rejected such a proposal, as occasioning an unnecessary effusion of blood, and in this I concurred with him; in preference it was therefore determined to move up and attack Paku, a town at which a portion of the piratical flotilla had been fitted/out, and to thus withdraw the force from pursuing the fugitives. On this, as on every occasion, I heard Sir James Brooke advocate the cause of mercy, and frequently the native chiefs were assembled to impress upon them the necessity of restraining their followers; and I am bound to say that no unnecessary slaughter took place, nor did I hear of any cruelties being committed by the natives; whereas a different spirit might have been expected, and even pardoned, from the sufferings they had endured at the hands of the piratical tribes of Sarebas and Sakarran. Given under my hand in London, this 6th day of June, 1850. A. FARQUHAR, Captain, R. A. Now he (Mr. Headlam) certainly felt strongly concerning this case. He did feel that an honourable and high minded gentleman had been subjected to most unjust imputations. It was no light matter for a public servant, struggling in a distant country, surrounded by the innumerable difficulties incident to his situation, to have all his actions misrepresented, to have foul and improper motives assigned for his conduct, and to have his character held up to opprobrium before that House and the country. He held in his hand a letter written by the Bishop of Calcutta, in consequence of a visit to Sarawak, which was full of sanguine anticipations with regard to the future. It was dated the 24th of January, 1851, and was addressed to the Honorary Secretary of the Borneo Church Mission:— To the Rev. C. D. BRERETON, Hon. Secretary to the Borneo Church Mission Society. Semiramis War Steamer, on way from Sarawak to Singapore, Jan. 24, 1851. My dear Friend—1. I have spent four days at Sarawak. I have consecrated the Church according to the request of the diocesan, the Lord Bishop of London. I have inspected the state of the infant mission, and conferred fully with the indefatigable and zealous chaplain and missionary, the Rev. P. Macdougall. I have conversed also with the gentry, and have read the several works published on the events which have occurred in the last few years. 2. It is my full persuasion that there is no mission on the face of the earth to be compared with that of Borneo. 3. It has been thrown open to Christian en- terprise almost by miracle. One of the darkest recesses of heathen ignorance, cruelty, and desolation, where piracy, and murder, and conflagration, and head-hunting stalked abroad in open day, and the aborigines were in the sure way of being exterminated utterly, is now, so to speak, like the paradise of God. Deliverance has been proclaimed—security of person and property, equal rights, an enlightened and paternal distributive justice, the arts of life, an extending commerce—are already established at Sarawak, and spreading along the whole western coast of Borneo. The China sea is free from marauders, and all Europe and America may pursue their peaceful occupations from Singapore to Labuan, 700 miles. 4. The Christian mission is begun to sanctify and crown all these secular blessings. Two things quite unexampled favour the design—1st, Englishmen have become first known to the oppressed Dyaks by a single English gentleman of benevolence, talent, and singular wisdom and tact for government, who has received as a token of gratitude from the native princes, a tract of land about 70 miles by 50, as his own territory. To the benefit of the inhabitants of it, this gentleman, who is now recognised as the Rajah of Sarawak, is devoting his time, his fortune, his zeal, his health, his body and soul. The noble Government of our honoured and beloved Queen Victoria at homo, has come forward with her admirals, and brave captains, to assist in reducing the piracies which infested the coasts, to silence and tranquillity, by deeds of almost unexampled heroism. Sir James Brooke has been made Governor of Labuan. The last engagement with the pirates, about a year and a half since, when 120 war boats, with 2,000 banditti, were intercepted in the very act of plundering and setting fire to villages, seizing native vessels, and murdering their crews, has humbled and alarmed the whole tribe, and the chiefs are sending messengers to Sarawak, promising to turn themselves to honest occupations. In the meantime, the population of the town has increased in nine years from 1,500 to 12,000 souls, and, including the whole territory, to 30,000. 5. The peace thus established, like that of the Roman empire at the incarnation of our Lord, prepares for the Gospel, renders the diffusion of it practicable, and calls imperatively on the Christian Church at home to seize with eagerness the occasion to which nothing parallel has perhaps ever occurred. 6. The second peculiarly favourable circumstance is, that the millions of poor Dyaks have no religion of their own, scarcely a notion of a Deity, no Mahomedan obstinacy, no Hindoo castes, no priesthood, no written book, no Koran, no veds; and are led by a strong feeling of gratitude for a deliverance from a worse than Egyptian bondage, to place unbounded confidence in the truth and disinterestedness of the Rajah, and to solicit instruction in his religion, and to follow the habits of the 'white people.' 7. In truth, when I stood on the hill on which the church is erected, and viewed the subjacent town, and watched on the river banks and beheld the mission house and school on the College Hill which crowned the opposite shore, I could not but break into thanksgiving to the God of all grace for his wonderful works. 8. And during the solemn service of consecration I looked with amazement on the neat wooden edifice, with its early English arches, its have 70 feet by 22, and 25 feet high, its side aisles, its handsome communion plate, placed on the holy table, and its Christian congregation, 43 (of whom 11 were Dyak and Chinese school children, seated in the aisle), and when I assisted in administering the blessed supper to 19 communicants, besides the clergy, my heart was almost too full to proceed. 9. Will England then fail to support the work thus prosperously begun? Impossible! It is not in the manners of our Christian Britain to forget what she was herself 1,400 years ago, in as low a state of barbarism as the Dyaks, and infested with European pirates, as they with Asiatics. No; she is well aware that what the Gospel has done for England it can do for Borneo," &c, &c. (Signed) "D. CALCUTTA. He (Mr. Headlam) was desirous not to indulge in too sanguine expectations, and not to hold out either to himself or to the House hopes that might be delusive. True it was that good seed had been sown, and that, by the blessing of Providence, it might take root and flourish. It might be that the efforts of Sir J. Brooke in these distant countries would hereafter extend the limits of civilisation, open new worlds to our industry, and spread the knowledge of true religion through the earth. It might, on the other hand, happen that after a few short years, when the life of Sir J. Brooke had terminated, that then the light which had been kindled might die out, and the districts which had been reclaimed might relapse into their primitive state. The issue was hidden in the mysteries of the future, and it was not given either to the Government or to the House to exercise any very material influence or control over the result. One thing, however, was in their power—one thing they might this very evening effect, namely, they might render it certain that when the name of Sir J. Brooke should in after time be mentioned in history as a benefactor to his race, and an honour to his country, that then he should also be quoted as an instance of a great man who, in his own time, from his own contemporaries, received the honour and respect justly due to his merits. It was, therefore, not only for the sake of Sir James Brooke, but for the credit of that House, that the Motion now before it should be rejected by a triumphant majority.


said, the friends of Sir James Brooke ought to be the very first to court inquiry on this subject. If he had been a supporter of Sir James Brooke in that House, he (Mr. Urquhart) would have been the very first to have made that proposition. Certain he was that in that House he would never be the friend of any man who, on his conduct being impugned, shrunk from investigation. It was not his fortune to be present in the House last Session; he was therefore totally ignorant of the whole proceedings; and it was not till his return to this country that he became acquainted with the facts of the case. His attention had been attracted to a volunteered publication by the Government of a document connected with the transactions of 1844–5, to which the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Headlam) had referred in the course of his speech. In those transactions of 1845, he (Mr. Urquhart) found a departure from the ordinary rule of service, and a disregard of the law of nations. Having formed an opinion as to the gravity of this case, he had determined to devote his mind to its investigation. He discovered a hiatus in the papers which had been laid on the table of the House. He found that certain testimony relating to the transactions in question had been withheld, and in consequence of that discovery he had addressed himself to the Government, with a view to obtain information on various points, namely, the grounds on which the Hon. Captain Keppell had first acted, and on which the Recorder of Singapore awarded various sums of money for the destruction of the pirates. At last an order was made by the House for the production of that information. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Headlam) had said the House was now trying a criminal whom they had already tried before. He (Mr. Urquhart) had not found in the documents laid on the table of the House the only evidence which was of importance, namely, the evidence of the facts and crimes on which Sir James Brooke proceeded to destroy a great part of the population. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Headlam) said that it was a maxim of law that a man once tried ought never to be put upon his trial again for the same offence. The hon. and learned Gentleman said his difficulty consisted, not in the scantiness of his proofs, but in the overwhelming materials at his disposal for establishing the innocence of Sir James Brooke. But he (Mr. Urquhart) had failed to derive the most slender amount of evidence from the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech, or from the perusal of all the documents that had appeared, and of other publications which had been given to the world on this subject. He had failed in finding any evidence to establish the fact even of the piratical character of the population assailed. Though the Government took care to withhold the evidence upon which those steps were taken against the population, they had nevertheless taken care that very morning, on the very spur of the occasion, to lay on the table a large volume purporting to be the views of foreign Governments in reference to the transactions now under the consideration of the House. He (Mr. Urquhart) had perused every line of that document, and had found in it only one reference to Sarebas, whilst Sakarran was not mentioned at all. In that document, which was a valuable contribution to the history of the Eastern Archipelago, he had expected to find abundant and teeming evidence of the piratical character of the Dyaks. He had expected to meet with something tangible, something ad rem, something, in a word, which would establish the case of the advocates of Sir James Brooke. He found in that document a complete, entire, and consecutive narrative of a series of operations undertaken year by year, after mature deliberation of reports prepared after inquiry, and conclusions drawn therefrom, for the purpose of suppressing piracy in the Indian Archipelago. Day by day, were these geographical descriptions given of the islands and of the population, the lineage of whom was also minutely traced. The House would find page after page occupied with graphic descriptions of the mode and character of those operations from 1806 down to 1839; but the only allusion made to the Dyaks had respect to their having got some arms and ammunition from the pirates in the neighbourhood; and there was, as he had previously mentioned, only one reference to Sarebas, and not one at all to Sakarran. It was alleged, on the part of the Dyaks, that up to 1839 no allegation of piracy had been directed against them; but from that period, for interested motives, and by a deception that had been practised, the general character of pirates had been transferred from those to whom it rightfully belonged, and applied to them for political purposes. He (Mr. Urquhart) contended that the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Headlam) had in the course of his speech endeavoured to obscure the plain meaning of the terms Dyaks and Malays, by mixing one with the other. In the paper to which he (Mr. Urquhart) had referred, there were no less than five descriptions of pirates. They were called Zooloos and many other names; but all those pirates had this common character, that their vessels were well built, that they had sails, and that they had guns on board; one of them was mentioned as having fifteen, but two large and four small guns were an ordinary complement. They were, therefore, armed with artillery, and adapted for long sea voyages. The course which they took was described to be this: They left the eastern or western parts of the coast respectively, as the eastern or western moonson set in. They stood out to sea and followed the currents, committing pillage as they proceeded whenever an occasion offered, and returned with the opposite monsoon to enjoy the proceeds of their adventures. That was the character given in the work to which he had alluded of the pirates of the Indian Archipelago. He would ask the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Headlam) how he made that description apply to the Dyaks, who, as Sir James Brooke himself had said, were not able to remain more than five days at sea, whereas the Malays could remain out for eight months? Was a question like this to be disposed of by such special pleading as that on the part of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Headlam)? He (Mr. Urquhart) stood, with respect to this question, not in the position of a lawyer, nor even as a legislator. His position on occasions like that was that of a grand juryman; and he had to examine whether or not there was a primâ facie case to go to the jury. He would tell the hon. and learned Gentleman, lawyer as he Was, it was no statement of a lawyer to say that a Motion like that of the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) was a second trial of the same criminal. The Dyaks were a distinct tribe from the Malays in, among other things, the construction of their ships, and the machinery by which their crimes were to be committed. His (Mr. Urquhart's) position was this, that the inhabitants of Sarebas and Sakarran were pirates, because Sir James Brooke was established at Sarawak; and if he had been established at Sarebas or Sakarran, then the inhabitants of Sarawak would have been called pirates. Another passage from Sir James Brooke's despatches had been read by the hon. and learned Gentleman to this effect, that "we can only concede the right of war to recognised States." He (Mr. Urquhart) had never before heard of such a proposition. It was a monstrous doctrine that nations should deny the right of war to peoples unless they were recognised as States. Was such a monstrous doctrine to be tolerated in this age of peace? Perhaps if the hon. Gentleman had seen this passage in extensor, as he (Mr. Urquhart) had seen it, he would himself have been startled by the illegal character of its propositions. Immediately following the passage which the hon. and learned Gentleman had quoted there came another. He would read them in connexion:— On the second point we can only concede the right of war to recognised States; and then followed in the original (and for what purpose suppressed by the Government he knew not) these words:— And even then we must carefully avoid introducing the refinements of European international law among a rude and semi-civilised people, a people who would make our delicacy a cloak for crime, and who would declare war merely for the sake of committing piracy with impunity. But events and circumstances had recently taught us the value of laws and rules, whilst experience had failed to engender in this country that monstrous sentiment which had been disseminated in the Indian Archipelago. Was that a doctrine to hold in an age of peace? Was that a maxim for the nineteenth century? Where was its wisdom, and where its philanthropy? The question appeared to him (Mr. Urquhart) to he in a nutshell. First of all, were these tribes piratical, or were they not? He contended that there was not an iota of evidence to prove that they were piratical. This was not a case of an English vessel seized by Dyaks. [Mr. HEADLAM: Hear, hear!] He defied the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, who seemed amused at that observation, to prove the contrary. There was not an argument which had been used on the other side beyond the most flimsy sophistication, of which he (Mr. Urquhart) had not disposed. The Dyaks were not pirates; they had not the means of being pirates, and that was the best reason why they were not. But, supposing they were piratical, Sir James Brooke ought to prove that the men whom he attacked were guilty. He (Mr. Urquhart) knew something practically of dealing with pirates. [Laughter.] He did not mean that he had been their victim; he had other relations with pirates. He knew very well under what strict regulations officers of the Army and Navy were in reference to pirates. By the Admiralty instructions it was provided that no naval officer could attack a vessel without the act of piracy having been committed "in view;" but an extension of this regulation had been made to that particular sea, and the instructions allowed such an attack to he made when the officer had such evidence as made him certain of the fact. The Admiralty was not satisfied with that arrangement, for they said, by their last instructions, that such evidence as would be satisfactory to a court of justice in England was requisite before an officer could take a vessel under suspicious circumstances. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Headlam) quoted extracts from the depositions taken before the Recorder of Singapore. Anything more flimsy or absurd in the way of evidence, he (Mr. Urquhart) had never seen. There were as many as twenty-two of those depositions. The first and second deponents were not present when the transactions in question took place; but the third was; and all that he knew was, that an expedition had attacked the neighbouring villages and taken a quantity of sago from the inhabitants. That was the whole amount of the evidence on which the Recorder of Singapore gave his verdict, and on which 2,000 of our fellow-creatures had been sent to their last account. In that decision there was no mention of the character of the transaction, no specification of the crime, nothing which could give to the document any value as establishing the character of the transaction. It merely stated the number of persons present, the number of vessels destroyed, and the amount of head-money paid. The Government had passed sentence upon itself; because it had changed the law with respect to the evidence which was to be taken with reference to the seizure of a vessel on the ground of piracy, and had abolished the head-money, which was an incentive to piracy. The House was not aware of the extent to which those legalised ravages proceeded. The matter was worthy the attention of the people of this country in a pounds, shillings, and pence view of it. The suppression of piracy was an expensive game in that part of the world. Would the House believe that 120,000l. had been expended in those enterprises, and that the head-money for each man engaged in the suppression amounted to 42l. 13s. 9d.? That was surely no inconsiderable incitement to men to enter upon that vocation. If by their vote they decided that no inquiry should take place into these transactions, and if they decided that officers of high station might be charged with the gravest offences, and be the subject of the gravest charges, without any attempt to vindicate their character—if they pursued that course it would be much better for the House to suspend its sittings, and to entrust all power and authority into the hands of the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary, for he might be made in some way responsible.


could not see how any Member of the House was justified in positively asserting, as hon. Members on both sides of the House had done, that it lay within their province to determine whether or not this individual people were, or were not, individually guilty of the crime of piracy or not. The question, as he took it, was this:—The Malays and the Dyaks were, ethnologically speaking, one race. The Dyaks were a race of Malays of milder temperament than the Malays properly so called. The Malays themselves were undoubtedly pirates, and they found that a certain portion of this more violent community settled occasionally on different parts of the coast of Borneo, where they very easily conglomerated and amalgamised with the milder race, and led the latter on to acts of piracy. This fact must render it very difficult to say whether the Dyaks were not guilty. The case was similar to that where a London poacher went down to the country where the young men were fond of poaching, but were afraid to practise it. The country was very quiet until he went down, and then suddenly it got a bad character. So it was with the Malays and the Dyaks. He understood his hon. Friend, who moved the Resolution, would have them infer that this great destruction of human life had been caused at the instance of Rajah Brooke, who desired to defend his principality. But the three admirals on the station were all implicated in the policy of Rajah Brooke; and he must also infer that when the hon. Captain Keppell made an made an attack in 1845, he was actuated by the same motive. Now that Rajah, Brooke would be able to persuade all the commanders on the coast to bring all the English power to bear in order to serve his personal purposes, and defend his principality, bore the stamp of improbability upon the face of it. Was it not more reasonable to suppose that these three admirals, who were well acquainted with those seas, and familiar with the habits of the people there, really thought that they were pirates? Rajah Brooke had founded a principality not immediately under English rule, but under English patronage, and established himself as the civiliser of Oceania. If he added to the talent of a disco-coverer the ability of a trader, he (Mr. M. Milnes) saw no disgrace or room for reproach in such a circumstance. But the establishment of the trade of Sarawak carried with it the necessity of putting down piracy. England, who fostered the principality and promoted the trade, would also protect her merchants; and it was upon this principle Captain Keppell acted in 1845. If those pirates were to be put down at all, there was no Gentleman who would not acknowledge that it was but humanity to put them down once and effectually. The hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Urquhart) knew very well that the way in which they put down piracy on the Greek coast was by waiting and watching until the pirates had got together in their mountain holds, and then attacking and destroying them. This was the policy pursued by Captain Farquhar. Now, he believed the estimates of those killed had been greatly over-estimated. He believed that 500 men was the aggregate of the slain. One very gratifying thing had arisen out of these debates, and that was the total abolition of Pirates' Head Money. In concluding, he must observe that hon. Gentlemen who brought forward this and similar Motions were doing considerable injury to the public character of the country. He thought that when his hon. Friend the Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. Cobden), went about holding up these circumstances as tarnishing the character of the English name, and asserting that these proceedings might rank with any in cruelty and infamy which ever sullied the annals of any country, that he inflicted a great injury upon the public character of this country, and prejudiced the interests of humanity in general. There was nothing which tended to harden the impulses of the human heart more than cases of spurious humanity. It was a very hard thing that after an Englishman had gone out, and established out of his own resources a great principality, that he should be liable to have his character traduced by the traitorous production of his private correspondence, and the highly coloured repre- sentations which had been made to the public in such papers as the London Illustrated News, which, although a very pleasing production, was by no means entitled to the character of political accuracy. Should the Commission go out to Borneo or Labuan, who was it to examine—the Dyaks themselves? Why, the thing was absurd. They had all the information which was required laid before them with accuracy and attention, and he did not think that the House would do well in consenting to the Motion.


said, the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had deprecated the imputation that in bringing forward this Motion, he was acting as the tool of any one. It was not his wish to invalidate any testimony the hon. Member might please to give in his own favour upon that point, but he might be permitted to observe that sometimes persons were the dupes of others without knowing or suspecting it. There were also persons in the world who knew how to traduce others; and, for his part, he could not believe that, from beginning to end, this Motion had any other foundation than a personal determination to ruin the character of Sir James Brooke. He believed its origin might be traced to the machinations of certain persons connected with the Eastern Archipelago Company. They saw that they could not carry out their intentions because Sir James Brooke would not let them, and the only alternative which remained to them was his ruin. The deprecation of personal allusions came with a very bad grace from a man who, being in the employment of another, and engaged in applauding him to the skies, went to a private friend of that man, and said, "It is owing to my mercy he (Sir James Brooke) is not convicted of murder." But, to come to the case brought forward by the hon. Member for Montrose—the real difficulty of answering it consisted in this, that there was nothing in it to reply to which had not been replied to last year. To the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Urquhart), who last year was wandering Heaven knew where, the matter appeared altogether new; but to those who were present at the former discussion, it was evidently the old story over again. It was proved last year by the evidence of every historian and traveller who had written on or visited the part of the world in question, that the people whom Sir James Brooke attacked were pirates. That piracy existed in the coun- try referred to, was asserted in the petitions of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, in two from the Manchester Commercial Association, in two from the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, in two from the Glasgow East India Association, by the Liverpool East India Association, and by the London Chamber of Commerce; or were those merchants who signed these petitions such heaven-born idiots as to petition to put down that which did not exist? The Sultan of Borneo had actually entered into a treaty with this country for the suppression of piracy. Did not he know whether there were pirates or not? Was the evidence of Sir Christopher Rawlinson on that point to be thrown overboard, as well as the fact that five pirates were taken in the act, and acknowledged their offence? To avoid these difficulties, the hon. Member for Montrose started a new dodge. "Oh!" said he, "there are pirates there, it is true, but the people called Dyaks are not so." But unfortunately all the depositions proved the contrary. A little learning was a dangerous thing even as regarded a blue book. It was not his intention to read much from that volume; but, as the hon. Member for Stafford had argued that the Dyaks could not be pirates because they had only small vessels, he must quote a passage from page 88, as follows:—[The hon. Member read a passage in which the pirates were described as having only small vessels, rigged with one mast, a single square sail, and a skull at their stern.] These vessels are used to run along the coast or ascend the rivers, enabling them to come speedily on their prey, and easily escape to the shore. Because the Dyaks used the sort of vessels best adapted for their piratical practices, the hon. Member wisely concluded that they were not pirates at all. In addition to the letter of the bishop, which had been read by the hon. and learned Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne (Mr. Headlam), he would take the liberty of quoting a passage from a letter written by a clergyman:— We have now with us several influential chiefs from the neighbouring rivers, and among them the headmen of the Sakarran Dyaks, who have come to ask the Rajah to take them under his care, and to send a European to govern them. Their principal, Orang Kaya, is an especially interesting old man; he has always been against piracy, and wished to put it down, and, now that his people have agreed to give it up, he is quite happy. When this chief expressed his pleasure because his people had agreed to give up piracy, it might fairly be assumed that up to that moment they had been pirates. This alone ought to be sufficient to establish the fact in the mind of any rational man. It might not, however, produce that effect on the hon. Member for Montrose. The hon. Member would not easily admit that he was satisfied; and if the House were not to escape an annual Motion on the subject until he made the acknowledgement, it would have to submit to the infliction for many years to come. Hear what Captain Hastings said:— If I can be of the smallest service to you in giving any assistance to resist the cruel and unjust persecution which some evil-disposed persons are waging against you, I beg you will command the services of, my dear Sir James Brooke, yours faithfully, "G. F. HASTINGS. This letter was dated February, 1851, Again, hear Captain Wallage:— I offered a reward for all prisoners who should he brought to me, and, in consequence, one Dyak was captured, and this man freely allowed the predatory and piratical habits of the Sarebas people, and his own share in them for many years past. That letter was dated the 17th of October, 1850. The following passage was from the deposition of a native:— I, Mahomed Kassim, of Singapore, trader, do sincerely and solemnly declare, that many years ago, at the time when Mr. Crawford was resident at Singapore, I went from Singapore to Sadong, on the north-west coast of Borneo, on a trading voyage in a prahu of about fifteen koyans. I remained at Sadong about eight months, and during that period went to various places on the coast. In these excursions the boat in which I went was always well armed, as I was afraid of the Dyaks. During the time I remained at Sadong, seven Malay prahus, belonging to Bruni, Sambas, and the neighbouring islands, were cut off by the Dyaks. The Dyaks cut off the heads of the people found in the prahus, no matter what nation they belonged to, and took the goods. But it was useless to read these passages, for they were but a repetition of what had been stated before. Mr. Crawford was a great authority with the hon. Member for Montrose—he was a perfect godsend to him. [Mr. HUME said, he had not named Mr. Crawford.] He would not let the hon. Member off on that plea. Mr. Crawford came as a witness before a Committee appointed to inquire into some other matter—an Ordnance survey, or something of that sort—and, having got him there, "Oh, oh!" thought the hon. Member for Montrose, "I will get something out of you about Borneo." Mr. Crawford was not very well acquainted with the habits of nations in those parts, as was evident from an anecdote related of him. It was stated that he went once to visit the Sovereign of Siam, and some person, by way of joke, told him that it was the custom for strangers to take off their shoes before appearing in the presence of the king. Mr. Crawford accordingly left his shoes at the door; but when he quitted the audience they were gone, and he had to walk home barefooted through the mud. The hon. Member for Montrose expected that Mr. Crawford would prove a great card for him; but when he came to be examined he stated that he knew nothing of the matter, except what he had got out of Sir James Brooke's diary, for he had not been in that country since 1825; and, singular to say, the very passage on which he had founded his opinion had been misprinted by Captain Keppell, the passage in the diary in the original manuscript volume, proving distinctly the contrary of that which had appeared in print. The hon. Member was not very nice respecting the quarters to which he applied for information. As long as he could get up a charge against a colonial Governor, he did not stick at trifles. Some time ago there appeared in the Daily News a letter written by a Mr. Miles, the same gentleman, he believed, whom the hon. Member had that evening referred to as the author of a letter, without naming him. Mr. William Henry Miles was a gentleman who followed the occupation of a butcher, with which he united the more honourable profession of a boxer, and it happened that owing to a little misfortune he went abroad at the Queen's expense. Lord Bacon said that there were two ways of making a man wise, by books and by travel. It was Mr. Miles's fortune to profit by the latter— Multorum mores hominum qui videt et urbes. This gentleman went out to Borneo, and on his return to this country he took it into his head to write a letter to the Sultan; and, remembering that great Sovereigns, when they visited other countries, were usually treated to a review of the troops of those countries, in order to inspire them with a high idea of their military prowess, and wishing to convey a fine impression of England to the Sultan, he (Mr. Miles) resolved—for great men were never at a loss for resources—he resolved to send the Sultan a picture of the Horse-guards; and here it is. [The hon. Member held up the letter with a vignette view of the Horse-guards at the top of it.] The letter was as follows:— My Dear Sultan—Altho in London 1,600 miles awhay from you I do not forget you and Borneo and when I come back to Singapore I shall corns and see you I have told all my friends in London what nice old Gentleman you are and are much pleased with the account of Borneo and the plesent life the Malays lead the Queen had A little boy the other day I should not be surprized if it is not called The Sultan I must buy some litte present in London for the Sultan Before I leeve Mrs. Miles and all Her friends sends there Kind Complements to the Sultan tender my respects to Pengaren Molmean and Pengaren Maccootar and all the other Pengarens and nobles of Brunie. Oping this will find you all well believe me Dear Sultan Yours Respectfully WILLIAM HENRY MILES, late Pengaren Miles Labuan. London, 24th May, 1840. P.S. This is the Queens Birthday I drank your and Her very Good Helth in A bumper and wished you might live A hundred years. Now, upon the strength of this letter, he denied that the letter which the hon. Member for Montrose had received and published was written by this man. He (Mr. Drummond) would like very much, if the hon. Member would hand over the manuscript of the letter to him or to some of his friends, and allow the handwriting to be compared with that of the letter he had just read. He (Mr. Drummond) believed that the letter read by the hon. Member (Mr. Hume) was cooked; for the fact was that the Mr. Miles, whose letter he (Mr. Drummond) had just read, could not spell, and, therefore, he could not have written the letter which was published in his name; and he (Mr. Drummond) did not believe the handwriting was like this. But he had no doubt he could easily get another handwriting to resemble the one the hon. Gentleman had got. The whole of this transaction from first to last was a very discreditable one. There was, he know, a mock patriotism which thought that it was always doing the public a service by finding fault with people in office, and particularly with those in distant settlements; whereas it was to official men in distant settlements that they ought to be more than ordinarily ready to extend their protection. The House should remember the many worthless adventurers who went out from this country to those settlements for the purpose of repairing their broken fortunes and character, and with whom official men were necessarily thrown into contact; and how any mark of just severity which might be measured out to those characters was sure to furnish abundant opportunity for slander. He did hope that the House would, with a high hand, reject this Motion, although he could not hope that that would put an end to the matter. At the bottom and root of it all were the parties to whom he had before pointed, and so long as they were allowed to continue their machinations, so long would those discussions last.


said, he rose not with a view of entering into the general question before the House, but simply to repel the attack made upon the Eastern Archipelago Company, of which he had the honour to be chairman. It was a most respectable company—it had for one of its directors the Earl of Albemarle, and he might say that but for that nobleman, he would never have had anything to do with it. He defied the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond) to prove that this company had ever done anything but what was prudent, discreet, and fair; and he believed Her Majesty's Government would bear him out in what he said.


explained, that he meant his charges to refer to the manager of the company; and his charge was, that the truck system had been adopted in the islands. The truck system, disreputable in individuals, was more so in an incipient colony, where the most scrupulous faith ought to be kept with the natives. It was managed thus: a shop was kept by the company's superintendent, from which the native workmen and native traders received half their pay and half their money demands, in goods. Thus a piece of balacher, or grey shirting, costs in Singapore two dollars, or one dollar ninety cents, which the native must take in payment for the dollars. If the native refuses, he could not deal with the company nor work for it. The fact came out in court, before Sir James Brooke and two other Judges, in this way: to establish a date on a trial in which he was a witness, the Company's superintendent handed in a receipt for a quantity of 'paddy' (rice in husk), which receipt was signed by the native plaintiff in the case. The receipt was fairly written in English for above 200 dollars, and the native incidentally stated, that half the money-price had been paid in grey shirtings; so that either the superintendent had cheated the company, or the company had cheated the people; but, in either case, the people were robbed.


said, he must congratulate the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) on the fact that the speech he delivered on that occasion was the worst speech that he had ever heard from him, and he congratulated him on this fact, because it showed that the hon. Member's own good feeling and good sense were opposed to the cause which he had undertaken to advocate. [Mr. HUME: Oh, nonsense!] He was sorry the hon. Gentleman thought it one of his best speeches, and he could only hope that those who heard it were not of the same opinion. After the speeches that had been delivered in the course of the discussion, it was unnecessary for any one to rise in defence of Sir James Brooke. But, with the permission of the House, he (Mr. B. Cochrane) would read a portion of evidence which had not yet been quoted—the evidence of his father (Sir Thomas Cochrane), who had carried on operations against these pirates, who had lived for two years as the friend of Sir James Brooke; and the character Sir Thomas Cochrane bore in the Navy would, he believed, render his testimony of great importance as regarded Sir James Brooke. He would now read the letter, which was addressed by Sir Thomas Cochrane to the noble Lord at the head of Foreign Affairs, and which was of the more importance as Sir Thomas Cochrane had been referred to in such a way by the hon. Member for Montrose as to convey the impression that he was hostile to the proceedings of Sir James Brooke. [Mr. HUME: I merely quoted his orders.] The following was the letter:— I have just been informed that the affairs of Borneo, and the conduct of Sir James Brooke, and those engaged with him, are again to be brought before Parliament. I therefore feel it incumbent on me to express to your Lordship my opinion of that gentleman, which I am the more competent to afford from his having on two different occasions placed himself under my command, and from his having for long periods lived with me on board my flagship, or in my house on shore. My first acquaintance with Sir James Brooke was in the year 1845, when piracy became daring on the west coast of Borneo, so as to endanger British commercial interests, as well as those of the peaceful inhabitants of the coast: and at the instance of the Sultan of that country I destroyed a formidable nest of pirates in Malodos Bay, on which occasion Sir James Brooke accompanied the force detached upon that service. In the following year I was under the necessity of proceeding to the capital of Borneo, to chastise that same Sultan who had the previous year urged the destruction of the pirates, and who had now assumed a hostile position towards England. On this, as on the former occasion, Sir James Brooke placed himself at my disposal, and rendered me important service, not only from his knowledge of the Malay language, but from his knowledge of the people, their manners and habits, which he not only respected himself, but instilled into all about him the policy and advantage of following his example. Upon each of these occasions Sir James Brooke was above six weeks on board my flagship, and he subsequently resided three mouths with me at Penang. I found him one of the most mild, considerate, and single-minded men I ever met with, and one who, in every conversation I had with him on the subject of Borneo, expressed himself in the terms of a father and friend to that people, and I had ample opportunity of witnessing how entirely they responded to that feeling. It was singular and striking that on parts of the coast where I am certain that no European had been previously seen, almost the first word pronounced by the people was the name of Brooke. But I shall perhaps better convey to your Lordship the opinion I had at that time formed of Sir James Brooke by stating that, on the Sultan flying from his capital, I deeply regretted that I had not the authority of the Government, as I had the power, to replace him by Sir James Brooke, under the full conviction that the measure would have been hailed with acclamation by the whole people. With regard to the attack on the Sarebas and Sakarran pirates, I derive my persuasion that the measure was only resorted to as one of absolute necessity from the fact that on my first or second visit to Sarawak, having heard that those people were disturbing that settlement as well as other parts of the coast, I offered to place a force at Sir James Brooke's disposal, in order to bring them to reason; but, so far from hastily availing himself of my offer, he informed me that he was trying, by gentle and peaceful means, to lead them to a quiet and industrious life. In regard to the loss of life that attended the late attack upon the people, I have to acquaint your Lordship that it is impossible to give, and hopeless to expect, quarter in action with this singular people—they have such an extraordinary contempt for life. A Malay, when irritated, whould kreiss a whole roomful of people, although with the certain knowledge that he would immediately fall himself; indeed, he would have no hesitation in concluding the tragedy by self-immolation. A fatal confidence in their possessing the feelings of ordinary men led to a result, on board one of the ships under my command, by which many valuable lives were lost. An attempt to give quarter in action would put to hazard the success of the day. This was the testimony of a man who had been quoted as hostile to Sir James Brooke, who was perfectly competent to form an opinion upon this subject, and he thought it bore ample testimony to the high character of that gentleman. He could only say, in conclusion, that if he had risen to trespass upon the House at all, it arose from a feeling of personal anxiety and pride to have his name associated with a debate which he was sure would be concluded by a vote that would satisfy the people of England that public men doing their duty in the noble and generous manner in which Sir James Brooke had dis- charged his would be sure to receive the support of his countrymen at home.


Sir, I think my hon. Friend who has just sat down has done honour to himself by the valuable and important testimony which he has quoted in favour of the character of the distinguished man who is assailed on this occasion, and against whom I am bound to say no inconsiderable personal animosity appears to exist. On account of this personal feeling with respect to Sir James Brooke, it appears to me that this debate has gone into questions with which the Motion has no proper connexion; and the question has assumed in too marked a manner, if not exclusively, a personal charge against Sir James Brooke. In this personal feeling of hostility to the character of Sir James Brooke, I do share. There is nothing which has been said by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. B. Cochrane) to which, as far as my limited knowledge extends, I am not fully disposed to subscribe. I look upon Sir James Brooke with great respect as a man of an energy truly British, and I believe that in his heart and intentions, however liable he might be to errors of judgment, he is a man of a philanthropy truly Christian. No doubt the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) would he the first to admit that as his Motion stands it bears on the face of it to be a charge against Sir James Brooke as an individual; and that the Vote of this House, if it should be favourable to this Motion, would imply an acquaiescence in these charges against him. I cannot vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose upon the specific grounds which that hon. Gentleman has stated, while at the same time, as I shall shortly show, I am unable to concur in the unqualified language which has been used on the other side. I cannot think that there is any reason whatever, whether in respect of the general position of Sir James Brooke, or in respect of the combination of offices in his person, however liable to criticism his position may be—however inexpedient, as a rule of administration, that combination of offices may be—I cannot think that an address to the Crown upon the subject would be expedient, either upon general principles, or altogether just to Sir James Brooke. First of all, with respect to the particular charge brought against him—the destruction of so many human beings, alleged to be pirates, on a particular ocoasion—if I am correct in my view of the question, there is no reason why Sir James Brooke should be selected either as singly or even as mainly responsible for that proceeding. This is a matter on which, I apprehend, we are all competent to reason; and I want to know, in view of the challenge which has been thrown out to the House of Commons by the hon. Member for Montrose, who are the parties whom it is our duty to call upon to render an account of these proceedings? Sir James Brooke, I understand, acts in three characters—as Rajah of Sarawak, as our Consul in the dominions of the Sultan of Borneo, and as Governor of Labuan; but in no one of these characters had Sir James Brooke authority to employ or direct the forces of Her Majesty. What might have been the case if the action had taken place within the waters of Labuan, might be a different question; but it was some hundred miles away. As consul, in Borneo, he could not control them, neither could he as rajah of Sarawak. He, if I rightly understand the case, was a consenting and advising party; but he was not the party who was primarily and properly responsible to this House. If the House thinks that there has been a questionable use of the naval power of this country on the 31st of July, 1849, in the waters of Borneo, it appears to me that we are not entitled to call upon Sir James Brooke, who was not in command of our forces, although he was an assenting and an advising party, to bear the brunt of the responsibility of that action, but that we ought to deal in the regular form in which it comes before us with that branch of the naval service; and, whether we address Her Majesty or not, the parties who were in command of that force ought to be held responsible for the use or the misuse which was made of it. On these grounds I am unwilling to accede to a Motion which proceeds on the assumption that Sir James Brooke is the party who ought to be responsible. But even on the main point of the question, I cannot upon the whole come to the conclusion at which the hon. Member for Montrose has arrived—I mean the question, whether these tribes are pirates or not; and at a subsequent period I shall candidly, and I hope respectfully, state to the House the difficulties which weigh upon my mind. As regards the question whether these tribes are pirates or not, I cannot treat it as placed beyond the possibility of doubt; but after taking all the pains in my power to examine the evidence, I must own that the balance of testimony seems to me to be in favour of the opinion that these particular tribes are distinguished from the rest of the Dyaks, not only from being-addicted to barbarous warfare, but especially in being addicted to that peculiar species of warfare which is characterised as piracy—not that kind of piracy which would induce them to attack European vessels, or any vessels that were assembled in considerable force, but possessed of that essential feature of piracy which would induce them when they go to sea to know no distinction between friend and foe. I attach great authority to the testimony of Sir James Brooke himself on this point. I am fully aware of the delicacy of his position. I know that he, as a naval sovereign, might be pressed to take a course which would be most convenient for his own political interests; but my entire confidence in his high honour and integrity, leads me to receive his statements with unqualified and unreserved belief. We must also recollect that, after all, the matter has been raised and argued judicially. It was argued before Sir Christopher Rawlinson in 1849; and it is plain, from a perusal of the depositions, that that part of the question was clearly before him. It is not true that Sir Christopher Rawlinson had nothing before him except the question whether there was a general presumption of piracy. The evidence adduced was sufficiently minute and pointed to convince me, and I have decided, after much consideration, that these tribes were piratical. But the question, we are told, has also been argued in this country before Dr. Lushington, when an objection to the payment of head-money was taken by the Queen's Advocate; and Dr. Lushington, after hearing evidence, gave his decision with reference to the events of 1844, that these tribes were of a piratical character. So far, then, as these points are concerned, even if a doubt remained on my mind, I am bound to say that there is not sufficient ground for a Motion of inquiry. I must now come nearer to that which is the real difficulty of the case, and, after listening to all the satire and sarcasm of the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond), and his severe lectures against unguarded language and slander—after listening to his lectures with all that respect which they deserve, and that attention which they cannot fail to command—I must say that this question is not to be disposed of by taunts against the hon. Member for Montrose. It has not been my lot in the course of my political life to be found often in the same lobby with the hon. Member for Montrose; but at the same time I must express my conviction that there is no man who brings to the consideration of a question motives of a higher and more honourable description, or who is more anxious to elicit the truth. That is what we have to consider to-night, and I do not think our duty will terminate with the question whether the terms of this Motion are liable to objection. I frankly tell the hon. Gentleman that they are, because they assume the character of personal charges against Sir James Brooke, and to fix upon him a responsibility which does not personally belong to him. The great moral question, the obligation which is placed upon us, is not to determine how the blame is to be distributed, if blame there be—but having before us the fact of a great destruction of human life, we have to decide whether that destruction was warranted by the principles of justice and of law. I bring no charge of cruelty against those who were concerned in those transactions. I cannot believe that any motive of cruelty prompted them. If I doubt the legality of their proceedings, I do it without the slightest intention of questioning that, in making that great sacrifice of human life, they believed they were acting in the ultimate interests of humanity. Of that I have no doubt whatever; but still I cannot consent to dispose of the question in that way. When in this House we hear the name of a pirate mentioned, we are too apt to leap to the conclusion that the whole question is at an end. I submit that that is a fundamental error. Your relations even with pirates are regulated by law, and if they are regulated by law you are bound to observe that law in your dealing with pirates as much as when you are dealing with criminals of any other class, or with individuals who are not criminals at all. That I lay down as a fundamental proposition, and to its consideration I beg the attention of the House. What is the law with respect to the treatment of pirates? It is regulated by two Acts of Parliament. The first is the Act with respect to the distribution of Head Money, and perhaps that is the Act which is best known and most in vogue with reference to piracy. In that Act there is undoubtedly little that savours of legality. It speaks of the expediency of encouraging the destruction of piratical vessels, and it provides for the payment of 20l. for every person who is taken, whether dead or alive, in action or immediately after action, and of 5l. for every person who is otherwise secured. But in 1837 this House was pleased to pass another Act, which ought not to pass from its memory. Up to the passing of that Act, the crime of piracy was simply and absolutely capital, and you might hold that if the piracy was proved the question of law was at an end; and I admit that if that were the only law now in existence, and if the fact of the piracy were proved, I should have nothing further to say. But in the Act of 1837 you provided that the crime of piracy should not in all cases be capital; and I was sorry that this point, as put by the hon. Member for Montrose, did not meet with more attention from the House. He stated it in language different from that which I should be inclined to use, but substantially I fully agree with him. He said it was your duty to take the pirates if you could—you were entitled to put to death those who resisted, but it must always be with a view to capture the rest. In the Act of 1837 there are two sections which bear upon this point. In the second section you thought fit to enact that any person who, being on board a piratical vessel, made any active effort at resistance to the capture of the vessel, was liable to be put to death; so that no doubt, if, in exigencies of an engagement with pirates, any person was put to death, our forces were only doing that which a court of justice would sanction. But then came the third section, which provided that any man committing an act of piracy, but who offered no resistance to his capture, should no longer be put to death, but should he liable, at the discretion of the court, to transportation beyond the seas for the term of his natural life. So that the position of the crime of piracy was now altered, and the punishment of transportation was substituted for the punishment of death. Now, observe what you have done in this matter. You have punished with death 500 persons. There are only two cases in which you are justified in doing so—the one is the case of active resistance, the other is where the pirates do not submit to capture so that death may ensue. Now, I put it to the House—I put it to Her Majesty's Government—above all, I put it to the law officers of the Crown—because I wish to state the case as it proceeds from a mind at least not conscious of a bias on this subject—I put it to them, do the deaths of these 500 persons all fall under one or other of these two cases? I hope I have raised the issue fairly. I quote only from the printed papers and from the accounts of men who were engaged in those transactions, and who look upon the action as doing themselves high honour; and I say that, tried by this just standard, it appears to me that a large number of these 500 men were put to death without that legal warrant which there would have been in either of the cases I have supposed. When the action began there was certainly a partial resistance by a certain number of pirates. I do not speak of its feebleness—it was an actual resistance. But that resistance was a partial one, and at any rate very soon ceased. The resistance was followed by flight. The flight was followed by pursuit. The pursuit was, as far as I understand it, nominal. The means of flight were small and ridiculous as compared with the means of pursuit. Well, now, what is said by Captain Wallage? The question is, were these persons sacrificed in the act of resistance, or in the act of flight? Captain Wallage says— Perceiving from the fire from Captain Farquhar's boat that the enemy had put to sea, I gave chase, and in a short time fell in with seventeen prahus, which had succeeded in escaping from him. On coming abreast of them, I fired the starboard broadside with canister shot along the whole line. This was no chase for the purpose of capture—I do not raise upon the question whether these persons were pirates in the strict sense of the term, but to show the illegality of the acts done. The flights had ceased. Where was the vessel from which the fire proceeded? Abreast! She was not in pursuit. There it was where the immense- slaughter occurred; and I distinctly and deliberately ask for a vindication of those proceedings in that view of them, or else for a fair and satisfactory proof that my statement of the facts is erroneous. I hope I am clearly understood. I say, that according to evidence, if true, a great number of these lives were not sacrificed in resistance, or under the necessities and exigencies of pursuit, but were deliberately sacrificed (whether with humane motives is quite another matter), and the question is whether that is legal. This it is which will certainly make it my duty to vote, not for a Motion which proposes to institute an inquiry into the conduct of Sir James Brooke, and marks him as the main author and party to these proceedings; but, in the absence of explanation or defence, for an address to Her Majesty, without designation of parties, for an inquiry into the proceedings connected with that attack and loss of life. But I sincerely hope that what I have stated is erroneous, and that the Government has looked into the matter and considered the bearings of the law with better aids than I have had an opportunity of commanding. To them I look for a vindication, which I hoped they would have been disposed to make through some of their Members at an earlier period of the evening. It has not been so, and I have felt it my duty to state the case as it presented itself to me. I hope, in so stating it, I have not used any expression which is painful to the feelings of any one. I deeply regret that there should be any necessity on the part of this House, ever so remotely, to ask the reasons for the proceedings of officers acting under the directions of the Government. But as public duty is the first consideration with us, so public duty requires us in every case, without fear and without flinching, to ascertain and enforce the legality of the proceedings of our officers abroad as well as at home, as being, in point of fact, the only permanent guarantee for the security and the rights of every man amongst us.


Sir, I confess that I never heard a debate in which the argument and the proof seemed more completely on one side than that which is now engaging our attention. And I must pay my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) the compliment of saying, that though he often entertains strong opinions of questions which he brings forward, yet the natural candour of his mind has shown itself in the manner in which he has brought forward the subject this evening. For there is no one, I think, who has heard him, and there is no one, I suppose, present who has not, but could see, through the whole of his arguments, that his convictions, which were strong last year, were somewhat shaken this year; and, although he did not altogether depart from the conclusions which he has before drawn, yet I think those who have heard him this evening must have felt that he did not altogether show that confidence in the soundness of his conclusions which he has exhibited on former occasions. Sir, the question indeed lies, as was stated by the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Urquhart) almost in a nutshell. The question simply is—were the persons who were attacked by the combined force of Her Majesty's service, and the Dyaks under Sir James Brooke—were they, or were they not, pirates? The right hon. Gentleman who has sat down remarked that no Member of the Government had risen, till this late hour of the evening, to state the views of the Government upon this question. My hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies did rise when the hon. Member for Montrose sat down, but he gave way to others who had been more fortunate to attract your eye, Sir. Now, Sir, the real question, then, as I say, is this—were these Dyaks who were so attacked, pirates, or were they not? I will first address myself to the argument of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, who, admitting for the sake of argument, that they were pirates, contended that there was illegality in the mode of dealing with them as pirates. The right hon. Gentleman contends that the change of the law which was effected in the year, I think, 1837, by which capital punishment of persons convicted before a court of law in this country for piracy was abolished, and transportation substituted in its room, ought to have prevented the destruction of those persons in the engagement in question. Now, I conceive that that argument has no application to the case in point. If these persons had been captured—if they had been taken prisoners—if, upon being taken prisoners, they had either without trial, or by sentence upon trial, been executed, I should have admitted the argument of the right hon. Gentleman. No doubt, when the law is altered, and when a court of justice can no longer apply the penalty of death to a person convicted of piracy, if a court of justice should apply that penalty, or if without sentence of a court, persons having in their possession pirates should execute them, the observations of the right hon. Gentleman would apply. But in order to deal with these persons under the law, you must be in possession of their persons, you must have taken them; and, as has been well stated in this debate, it is the peculiar character of these Malays that they do not surrender, that they prefer being killed to being captured, and it was in the pursuit of the enemy that this destruction of life took place. Why, Sir, take the analogous case of an ordinary enemy in war. It would not be lawful when you have taken a prisoner in war, either to transport or put him to death. You are at less liberty to deal with him than you are to deal with a pirate; but still, when you are engaged with an enemy, until that enemy surrenders, until he asks for quarter, and puts himself in your power—you continue hostilities—and if you come up, you fire a broadside, whether with round shot or with grape, but you continue your hostilities against the enemy with whom you are contending, until he by an act of his own indicates that he surrenders and places himself in your power, and claims from you that forbearance which the laws of war, or, in this case, if you please, the laws of the land, would entitle him to claim at your hands. Consequently, Sir, I cannot perceive that an argument founded upon a change of the law in the year 1837, has any application in the transaction which is now the subject of consideration. Well, then, Sir, take the broader question, were these parties pirates or were they not? Now, Sir, I remember in the debates that we have had upon this question in former years, we had much broader assertions than those that we have heard to-night. We were told that them might, indeed, in these eastern seas be tribes who were engaged in that newly-described operation, which is almost represented an amiable pursuit, that of intertribal war—that there were nations who were addicted to inter-tribal war; but as to piracy in any sense which would denote the taking of merchandise, and especially of square-rigged vessels, in that respect no such thing as piracy need be supposed to exist in the Eastern Archipelago. Well, Sir, I hare laid on the table of this House proof upon proof of the taking of square-rigged European vessels, of scenes of murder of crews—of scenes of plunder of the merchandise contained in the vessels which, until the last few years, have prevailed throughout the whole extent of these seas. I laid upon the table this morning a very extraordinary document, which I regret I had not an opportunity of producing sooner, in order that my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose might have had time to consider its contents. That document contains a history of the operations of the Netherlands Government against the most extensive system of piracy which has prevailed throughout these seas. Why, Sir, I have a despatch (which I will not trouble the House with reading) from the Consul at Manilla, giving me an account of the operations conducted there by the Spanish Governor against the pirates of Sooloo. In that despatch the Consul draws a contrast between the state of things at present and at a former period. He says that it had been his duty in years gone by, during five years that he had been there, to record instances of merchant vessels having been attacked, whether American or British, and of their being crews carried off in slavery; of square-rigged vessels having disappeared, and never having been heard of, presumed to have.been carried off by pirates; but he says that, in consequence of recent operations of British ships of war on the northern coast of Borneo, in consequence of the operations of the Dutch and Spaniards, trade is becoming secure, and that the proceedings of pirates had, at all events, for the moment, been considerably checked. Well, Sir, I suppose no man now that has read the papers that have been laid upon this table, will, for one instant, be disposed to deny that piracy to an enormous extent has prevailed all over the seas round Borneo. Well, then, Sir, the real question is, whether a small number of these tribes of Dyaks are exempted from the guilt which taints other tribes and natives in that country. Why, Sir, we have two proofs that they were guilty of that same crime. There are, in the first place, the depositions of those two masters of native vessels who were examined by Colonel Butterworth on the subject of Captain Keppell's operations, and both of them declare that the depositions which were contained in these papers, that the Dyaks of Sarebas were known to be habitual pirates, were true. We have, then, that other proof, which my hon. Friend had no time to find in the papers which were presented this morning, in which, by a singular coincidence, the Dutch Government, years ago, stated distinctly the fact, that these Dyaks of Sarebas were notorious pirates; they described precisely how they carried on their piratical operations, in light and small vessels, which my hon. Friend contended was proof that they did not commit piracy; and that the weapons of this particular tribe were swords, javelins, and spears. Why then, I say, here we have, first of all, the proof that piracy prevailed to an enormous extent in these seas of Borneo; and in order that it should be impossible for any man to say that this particular tribe of Dyaks was alone and singly exempted from the gene- ral guilt, we have the testimony of masters of vessels at Singapore, and of all these reporters to the Dutch Government, proving that these Dyaks of Sarebas were guilty of the crime of piracy. Well then Sir, I say the whole accusations fall to the ground. There is really nothing to inquire into, unless it be an inquiry (which I do not wish to pursue) into what could have been the source whence these various, and persevering, and malignant persecutions proceeded. I do not apply that word to any course which has been taken in this House; but I must denounce these charges as malignant and persevering persecutions of an honourable man. Sir, I am convinced that this House will, by an overwhelming majority, negative the Motion of my hon. Friend, and that by so doing they will proclaim to the world that Sir James Brooke retires from this investigation with an untarnished character and with unblemished honour. And I am persuaded that he will continue to enjoy the esteem of his countrymen as a man who, by braving difficulties, by facing dangers in distant climates, and in previously unknown lands, has done much to promote the commercial interests of his country, and to diffuse the light of civilisation in regions which had been before in the darkness of barbarism.


said, it was not his intention to enter on the point started by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) as to the responsibility of Sir James Brooke in this matter, further than to explain the reasons why his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose had moved for this inquiry into the conduct of Sir James Brooke. Sir James Brooke had himself taken the most public occasion to claim for himself the merit of the act into which they were inquiring, and had assumed to himself the right to do what the hon. Member for Montrose denied he was justified in doing. He (Mr. Cobden) had always felt that it was to those employed by the Admiralty they had to look as responsible. We paid a very large sum for maintaining a naval force in the Indian Archipelago. Lord Auckland had stated, many years ago, that it amounted to twenty-five ships of war, with 4,200 men, kept up chiefly to protect our commerce in the Indian and China ocean; and having that large force, and a responsible admiral at the head of its affairs, they were justified in looking to the Admiralty as the responsible party. But Sir James Brooke had stepped in and proclaimed at a Fishmongers'-hall dinner —["Oh, oh!"]—he had proclaimed that he would put down piracy, and that he was in Borneo for that purpose. Now he came to the broad question put by the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary—were the parties who were slaughtered on the 31st July pirates or not? It would not do for the noble Lord to talk of the majority there would be that night, or to say that the thing was disposed of, for he believed that evidence had been brought forward that evening, which, if disregarded by that House, would give a tenfold force to the feeling of the public out of doors. His hon. Friend (Mr. Hume) had brought forward in evidence five letters written by naval commanders stationed upon the very coast, and he pledged himself to bring them forward to give evidence if this inquiry should be granted. He first quoted from Commander Daniel, of the Indian navy, who said, "As respects the British expedition against the Dyaks in question, I never heard of their having molested an English or a foreign vessel." His hon. Friend quoted also from Commander Young, of the Indian navy, who was upon that station from March to December, 1848, and who was perfectly willing, if called on in an official way, to give evidence upon the subject in hand. He also read two other letters from captains in the navy. One of them had been sixteen months stationed upon the coast of Borneo, and he stated his belief that the Dyaks in question were not pirates, and expressed his satisfaction that his ship had not been engaged in the affair. The other captain had been stationed at Labuan, and he expressed his belief also that the Dyaks were not pirates in the sense generally taken of the term by Englishmen. [Cries of "Name, name!"] The name would be given if the inquiry should be granted. Now, how did this case present itself to him? An energetic English gentleman found his way to the coast of Borneo, and entered into a trading speculation with a local chief or rajah of that island. The transaction ended in his becoming possesed of the territory of that chief, and his becoming sovereign or suzeraine to the Sovereign of Borneo over a territory the size of a large English county. He didn't stop to inquire how far that was legitimate, but he said that, having in view the interests of his country, when he heard of Sir James Brooke having become possessed of that territory, his feelings were those of strong anxiety that our Government should not become partners, or in any way interested, in its possession, because he felt that we had far more of those possessions already than it was for the advantage of this country to have. He believed that his alarm was not altogether unfounded, but that attempts were made to induce the Government to take possession of that territory. He believed, however, that the late Sir Robert Peel and Lord Stanley were sounded upon the matter, and that they were both strongly of opinion that it was not the interest of England to possess any more territories of the kind. Sir James Brooke, however, continued to hold it upon his own account. He did not stop to inquire into the anomalous position of an Englishman being sovereign of a territory like this, and at the same time being the Governor of an English colony—Labuan. The next thing that he heard was that Sir James Brooke was engaged in a war with his neighbours, which was carried on with English vessels under the pretence of being engaged in putting down piracy. He found that Sir James Brooke claimed to himself the merit of being in Borneo for the purpose of putting down piracy in the Eastern Archipelago, and the difficulty of discussing this matter was this, that while Sir James Brooke was carrying on a war only with his next-door neighbours, hon. Gentlemen would import into it the whole of Borneo, which was 2,000 miles in circumference, and the whole of the Indian Archipelago, which occupied an aqueous surface of 4,000 or 5,000 miles. When he found that English ships were employed under Sir James Brooke to put down piracy, he next inquired whether those parties were pirates or not, and upon this subject he would quote Mr. John Crawford, the author of the best-known work upon the Indian Archipelago, who had nearly completed a Malay dictionary, and who had been consulted by the present Government with respect to the formation of the establishment of Labuan. That gentleman said that the Dyaks of Sarebas and Sakarran were not Malays, and that those who talked of them as Malays did not understand the subject. Yet the House heard the Dyaks and Malays constantly jumbled together. As he could bring authority to prove that these Dyaks were not pirates, he wanted those who took a different view to give some authority to justify this great act of violence, and, as he called it, of cruelty. There was no proof those Dyaks had committed on an English ship any act such as would in England be called piracy. They had also to recollect that the instructions of the Admiralty were that the offences must be committed on English vessels. He demurred to the Sultan of Borneo, who might find his neighbours troublesome, employing English vessels in putting them down, under the pretence that he was suppressing piracy. He (Mr. Cobden) wanted some better proof than the fact of these tribes being at war with each other to justify the slaughter of 500 of them. He should confess he felt alarmed lest the people of this country should be made parties to the occupation of more territory than that of Sarawak. Rajah Brooke had been praised for his magnanimity; but it would appear that he made war with a view to encroach on his neighbours' territory. It was also evident that his warfare was not confined alone to water, for he also made war by land in invading these adjoining territories. They might talk about his putting down piracy. It was well known that piracy existed for centuries in the Indian Archipelago, and the districts in which it prevailed were well known. But was Rajah Brooke to be found there? By no means. If Sir James Brooke made war against the Zooloos, as the Spaniards had, with great loss to themselves, or with other pirates, all of whom were about 1,000 miles from Sarawak, then he should think that Sir James Brooke was engaged in putting down piracy. He would give a summary of Sir James Brooke's proceedings from a document which he held in his hand:— August 15, 1839.—Sir James Brooke arrived at Sarawak. September 24, 1841.—Became Rajah of Sarawak. June 11, 1843.—With the Sarawak and Sow Dyaks, assisted by the boats of Her Majesty's ship Dido, attacked the Sarebas Dyaks. June 12.—Captured and burnt Dyak town of Paddi, on the Sarebas river. June 14.—Destroyed Paku, another Dyak town on the same river. June 17.—Took, by assault, Rembas, another Dyak town on same river. August 7, 1844.—With the Sarawak Dyaks, assisted by the boats of Her Majesty's ship. Dido, and of East India Company's steamer Phlegethon, stormed and took the Dyak forts and villages at Patusen. August 8.—Continued burning and destroying Patusen. August 9.—Completed same. August 10.—Having destroyed every boat, house, and but at Patusen, started for the Sakarran country. August 12.—Plundered and burnt Dyak town of Seriff Muller. August 14.—'Looted' (plundered) Dyak villages; more fighting; Lieutenant Wade of the Dido killed, and another Dyak village destroyed. August 17.—Proceeded up the Sakarran River. August 19.—Attacked the Sakarran Dyaks; Mr. George Steward killed. November 1.—Appointed British agent at Borneo. October 24, 1845.— Despatched his Sarawak Dyaks against the Sakarran Dyaks. March 16, 1847.—Accredited to the Sultan and independent Chiefs of Borneo, as Her Britannic Majesty's Commissioner and Consul General. October 1.—Arrived in England. November 27, 1847.—Appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Labuan and its dependencies. February 17, 1849.—Arrived at Sarawak, and prepared to attack the Sakarran Dyaks. March…—Left Sarawak on a fruitless preliminary expedition against them. March 25.—With thirty prahus of his own savages, and with the boats of the Nemesis steamer, went on an 'operation,' which was only partially successful; the natives having fled inland, prevented Brooke and his savages from 'playing the same game' (to use a Brooke expression) as on another occasion; and they were, in the absence of the inhabitants, obliged to return contented with the minor pastime of destroying eight Sarebas villages, and burning 40 tons of paddy. July 31.—The latest massacre of which any advices have as yet been received. August 4, and succeeding days.—Paku, a town on the Sarebas River, destroyed; several villages plundered; Kanowitt 'fined.' Thus, it would be seen, that when Sir James Brooke went out from this country he was not to be found at Borneo where he was Consul, or at Labuan, for being Governor of which he received 2,000l. per annum, but continually at Sarawak, not putting down pirates, but carrying on war by land and sea with his next neighbours. He repeated that there was nothing in the evidence to show that Sir James Brooke was engaged in the Indian Archipelago in putting down pirates for the benefit of British commerce; but, on the contrary, he was engaged in war with his neighbours for the purpose of becoming possessed of their land. What this country had a right to expect was, some proof that those tribes of Dyaks had ever committed an act of piracy upon an European vessel—he would not confine himself to an English, but would say, upon any square-rigged vessel, or any schooner of any country. If that were shown him, he would at once cease all comment on these proceedings. Whatever the decision of that House might be, the country would not let the question rest; and he thought the hon. Member for Montrose deserved the honour and gratitude of the country and of the civilised world for attempting to rescue this country from the stigma which must attach to it if it allowed this matter to pass uninquired into. All that the hon. Member asked for was, that the House should inquire why these 500 people were killed. The loss of life was greater than in the case of the English at Trafalgar, Copenhagen, or Algiers, and yet it was sought to pass over such a loss of human life as if they were so many dogs; and, worse, to mix up professions of religion and adhesion to Christianity with the massacre. If the country had not moral force enough to compel this inquiry, then let it cease its comments on other countries, in whose eyes the people of England wished to set themselves up as examples of morality, magnanimity, and all the other virtues.


said, that if the proof of that which was the main question in this case had not been fully established throughout the whole of the debate, he should have called the attention of the House to the clear and distinct evidence before them, to prove the fact that the tribes of Sarabas and Sakarran were unquestionably pirates; and as the hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden) called triumphantly for any evidence on the subject, he wished to press upon their attention the important fact, that on two occasions this very question had been the subject of judicial inquiry and determination. In 1844, upon a question arising as to the right of the crew of the Dido to receive head-money, in respect of the engagement that took place under the command of Captain Keppel, the point was raised, under the 6th George IV., of whether the tribe of Sakarran were pirates or not? The learned Judge who presided on that occasion was well known to be a person whose feelings revolted at deeds of cruelty and oppression, and would have been indignant to repel any attempt to fasten the crime of piracy on this tribe for any interested object. The Queen's Advocate raised the question of whether they were pirates or not, and the learned Judge pronounced that the proof against them was conclusive. Upon the occasion of the proceedings of the 31st July, 1849, the same question arose before another learned Judge. Deposition after deposition was produced, and it was proved distinctly to the mind of every dispassionate person that the tribes of Sarobas and Sakarran were pirates. He rested upon these two important decisions, in which the question had been most distinctly raised; and the hon. Member for the West Riding must be hard to be satisfied if he did not take them as conclusive proof of the fact. An objection to what took place on the 31st July, 1849, was raised by his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), and he was anxious that it should not go forth upon his high authority that any doubt could exist as to the legality of these proceedings. The right hon. Gentleman said, that an Act of Parliament having passed, in 1837, which reduced the punishment for piracy from a capital punishment to transportation, it was therefore not lawful to put pirates to death unless they resisted; and he said, that although there were several vessels engaged in this enterprise, there were only a few of them that made any resistance, and therefore it was not lawful for Her Majesty's forces to do more than to seize on those vessels that were not actually engaged in resistance. He should have thought, that, where a number of boats or vessels were engaged in one common enterprise, and a portion of them offered resistance, that would be quite sufficient to warrant an attack on the whole of them. But he would concede for a moment that this was not a lawful course to pursue. The general rule with regard to pirates was, that they were enemies of the human race, and might be exterminated for the purpose of protecting peaceful commerce; but the law in England with regard to piracy was different, under the 6 George IV., which, for the encouragement of the suppression of piracy, gave head-money in respect of every person engaged on board any piratical vessel. But, said his right hon. Friend, the Act of 1837 reduced the punishment from death to transportation. He (Sir F. Thesiger) should have considered that his right hon. Friend might, however, at once have supposed that this punishment was not applicable to Malay and Sarebas pirates. That Act applied to British subjects; and it would be most extraordinary to think of transporting the subjects of another country under the provisions of an English Act of Parliament. Therefore, the Act of 1837 could not interfere with the relation, as it had been called, in which pirates stood to peaceable persons, as they were still the enemies of the human race, still liable to all the consequences incurred by those who committed unlawful and criminal acts; therefore, on the 31st July, 1839, it was competent to the forces under Sir James Brooke to put them down in any way, and they were not called on to endeavour to capture them, in order that they might be transported, under a British Act of Parliament, from Great Britain to such parts beyond the seas as Her Majesty should think fit to direct. He thought the observations upon piracy had by this time been entirely exhausted, and he trusted that these most insidious accusations, per- tinaciously and unrelentingly persevered in, would at last be put an end to by a triumphant majority against the Motion.


said: It has become almost necessary that those who intend to vote with the Member for Montrose should state the reason why. So far as I may put myself forward as a representative of that class, and because I have not been entirely without the habit of considering conflicting evidence, I must say, that I no more believe in the existence of Dyak pirates in Borneo, than of dragons in Cappadocia. Who likes, may enact St. George; but I don't believe in the Dragon. In my honest and simple conviction, the evidence that has been brought into this House is convincing and overwhelming on the side of the Member for Montrose. Honourable men are found expressing their gratitude, that they had not been compelled to take an unwilling share in these transactions. The evidence from all quarters is overpowering, that these were not the men who were the pirates. I cannot congratulate hon. Gentlemen opposite on the perspicacity they displayed when they so mirthfully cheered the statements of the Member for Montrose; for he was in the act of showing that the accounts of the men who were in the habit of piracy, were entirely different from the description of those who had been slaughtered. It was as if he had described the cuirasses and helmets of the Life Guards in yesterday's procession, for the purpose of demonstrating that the slaughtered Dyaks were not they. But I know how little chance there is of opposing a deed of blood; all I ask, therefore, is that we may have a fair chance of seeing our names printed in a division list for the use of our constituents and the country.


said, that if some hon. Gentleman considered that the Dyaks of Borneo were not pirates he could only tell them that the merchants, shipowners, sailors, and underwriters of this country entertained a very different opinion. He had applied to the Committee of Lloyd's for information on this subject, and he held in his hand a list supplied by that committee, and signed by the secretary, mentioning between thirty and forty vessels which had been captured and plundered, the crews in many cases having been murdered. [An Hon. MEMBER: Where?] The return was entitled a list of vessels which between the 15th of August, 1839, and the 28th of February, 1851, had been attacked, captured, plundered, or in any way molested by Malay or Dyak pirates. The hon. Member for Montrose had referred very triumphantly to a letter which had been addressed to him by certain traders at Singapore. He (Mr. Forster) had received a copy of that letter, and had made some inquiries respecting it, and he could inform the House that the first name on the list was that of a gentleman connected with a house in London, by whom he (Mr. Forster) could say on the best authority that that gentleman's proceedings were entirely disavowed.


replied. The gentleman (Mr. Carr) whose name had just been referred to, had not at all altered his opinion, and was ready to come forward and give evidence to-morrow.


said, he had referred to the house with which the gentleman was connected.


said, the gentleman had been a resident at Singapore twenty-three years, and the house with which he was connected had nothing to do with the matter, for none of them had ever been abroad. The hon. and learned Member for Abingdon (Sir F. Thesiger) considered that it would be absurd for an English Act of Parliament to be applied to the transportation of the inhabitants of Borneo. Now, by a treaty made with the Sultan of Borneo in 1847, power was given to Her Britannic Majesty to enter the rivers and creeks within his dominions, in order to capture all vessels engaged in piracy, and reseize and reserve for the judgment of the proper authorities all parties offending against the two contracting Powers. This was the law, and it appeared that the hon. and learned Member was ignorant of this treaty. The hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond) had alluded to an individual whom he described as the malignant cause of all these proceedings; and in a former debate it was stated that Mr. Wise had taken possession of certain papers belonging to Sir James Brooke, and used them. Now the fact Was, as Messrs. Chapman and Hall, the publishers of Captain Keppell's book, declared, that Mr. Wise, having undertaken the revision of the second edition of the work at Captain Keppell's request, they transmitted to him a box containing certain manuscripts of Sir James Brooke, in order to enable him to do so. Whatever might be the decision of the House, everything that had taken place during the present discussion had convinced him of the accuracy of his information, that 500 persons had been destroyed under the allegation that they were pirates, when there was no proof of such being the fact.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 19; Noes 230: Majority 211.

List of the AYES.
Bell, J. Robartes, T. J. A.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Smith, J. B.
Cobden, R. Thompson, Col.
Crawford, W. S. Thompson, G.
Ellis, J. Walmsley, Sir J.
Greene, J. Willcox, B. M.
Hastie, A. Williams, J.
Henry, A. Williams, W.
Heyworth, L. TELLERS.
Lushington, C. Hume, J.
M'Gregor, J. Urquhart, D.
List of the NOES.
Abdy, Sir T. N. Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B.
Acland, Sir T. D. Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.
Adderley, C. B. Cocks, T. S.
Anson, hon. Col. Conolly, T.
Armstrong, Sir A. Cowan, C.
Armstrong, R. B. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Bagshaw, J. Craig, Sir W. G.
Bailey, J. Crawford, R. W.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Crowder, R. B.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Bateson, T. Davies, D. A. S.
Bellew, R. M. Dawes, E.
Bentinck, Lord H. Dawson, hon. T. V.
Beresford, W. Denison, E.
Berkeley, Adm. Dick, Q.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Divett, E.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Birch, Sir T. B. Douro, Marq. of
Blair, S. Drummond, H.
Blandford, Marq. of Duncan, G.
Bowles, Adm. Duncuft, J.
Boyd, J. Dundas, Adm.
Boyle, hon. Col. Dundas, G.
Bramston, T. W. Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.
Brisco, M. Dunne, Col.
Brocklehurst, J. Ebrington, Visct.
Brooke, Lord Edwards, H.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Bruce, C. L. C. Estcourt, J. B. B.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Euston, Earl of
Burrell, Sir C. M. Evans, J.
Burroughes, H. N. Fergus, J.
Butler, P. S. Ferguson, Col.
Cabbell, B. B. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Campbell, Sir A. I. Fitz Patrick, rt. hon. J.
Cardwell, E. Forbes, W.
Carew, W. H. P. Forster, M.
Castlereagh, Visct. Fortescue, C.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Fox, S. W. L.
Cavendish, W. G. Freestun, Col.
Cayley, E. S. Gilpin, Col.
Chaplin, W. J. Gladstone, rt. hon. W. E
Christy, S. Glyn, G. C.
Clay, J. Goddard, A. L.
Clements, hon. C. S. Goold, W.
Clive, hon. R. H. Gordon, Adm.
Greene, T. Owen, Sir J.
Grenfell, C. P. Paget, Lord C.
Grenfell, C. W. Palmerston, Visct.
Grogan, E. Parker, J.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Peel, Col.
Grosvenor, Earl Pennant, hon. Col.
Gwyn, H. Perfect, R.
Hallyburton, Lord J. F. Pigot, F.
Hamilton, G. A. Pilkington, J.
Hamilton, Lord C. Pinney, W.
Hanmer, Sir J. Plowden, W. H. C.
Hastie, A. Plumptre, J. P.
Hatchell, rt. hon. J. Price, Sir R.
Hawes, B. Prime, R.
Hayes, Sir E. Pugh, D.
Headlam, T. E. Pusey, P.
Heald, J. Renton, J. C.
Heneage, E. Repton, G. W. J.
Heywood, J. Ricardo, O.
Hill, Lord E. Rice, E. R.
Hodges, T. L. Rich, H.
Hodgson, W. N. Rushout, Capt.
Hogg, Sir J. W. Russell, Lord J.
Hollond, R. Russell, F. C. H.
Hotham, Lord Scholefield, W.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Scobell, Capt.
Howard, hon. E. G. G. Seaham, Visct.
Hutchins, E. J. Seymour, Lord
Hutt, W. Smyth, J. G.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Smythe, hon. G.
Johnstone, Sir J. Smollett, A.
Jones, Capt. Somerset, Capt.
Kerrison, Sir E. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Kildare, Marq. of Sotheron, T. H. S.
Knox, hon. W. S. Spooner, R.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Stafford, A.
Langston, J. H. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Langton, W. H. P. G. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Lawley, hon. B. R. Strickland, Sir G.
Lennard, T. B. Stuart, J.
Lennox, Lord A. G. Talbot, C. R. M.
Lewis, G. C. Tancred, H. W.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Taylor, T. E.
Littleton, hon. E. R. Thesiger, Sir F.
Lockhart, A. E. Thicknesse, R.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Thompson, Ald.
Mackenzie, W. F. Towneley, J.
Mandeville, Visct. Trevor, hon. T.
Manners, Lord C. S. Tufnell, rt. hon. H.
March, Earl of Tyler, Sir G.
Matheson, Col. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Melgund, Visct. Verner, Sir W.
Meux, Sir H. Verney, Sir H.
Milner, W. M. E. Vyvyan, Sir R. R.
Milnes, R. M. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Milton, Visct. Walter, J.
Mitchell, T. A. Watkins, Col. L.
Moody, C. A. Wellesley, Lord C.
Morgan, O. Westhead, J. P. B.
Morris, D. Whiteside, J.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Wilson, J.
Mullings, J. R. Wilson, M.
Mundy, W. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Murphy, F. S. Wood, Sir W. P.
Naas, Lord Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Napier, J. Wynn, H. W. W.
Newdegate, C. N. Young, Sir J.
O'Brien, J.
O'Brien, Sir L. TELLERS.
O'Connell, M. J. Hayter, W. G.
Ogle, S. C. H. Grey, R. W.

House adjourned at One o'clock.