HL Deb 28 May 1880 vol 252 cc628-30

said, the domiciliary visit to the house of Tunku Alum arose out of the action of Colonel Anson in the affairs of Muar, to which he had called the attention of the House last year. He wished to ask the attention of the Secretary of State for the Colonies to the last Paper in the Muar Parliamentary Papers, which was a letter of Sir William Robinson's, dated October 24, 1878, to Tunku Alum, in which he said that his pension would be paid to him "so long as Her Majesty's Government shall deem proper." This was what the Governor of the Straits Settlements had no right to do, for this money belonged to Tunku Alum under the Treaty of 1855, which was given at the beginning of these Papers; it was not British money at all, and was money accruing from a settlement made between the father of Tunku Alum and the father of the present Maharaja of Johore, and which had been countersigned and sanctioned by the Governor of the Straits Settlements. On a former occasion the Straits authorities had attempted, or threatened, to stop the payment to the Raja of Keddah of his annuity, which was the rent for the Island of Pulo Penang; but the Indian Government had not allowed this to be done. The Under Secretary of State who represented the late Government was not now in the House; but that was of little consequence, since such concord and harmony reigned between the Colonial Secretaries of State of the late and present Governments that they resembled helmsmen at the wheel relieving one another in alternate watches. When he (Lord Stanley of Alderley) before spoke of the election of the Maharaja as Ruler of Muar, he said it would lead to bloodshed and disturbances. This had been the case, though the Maharaja and the Straits authorities had endeavoured to represent the casualties as having been limited to those caused by two bodies of the Maharaja's forces accidentally firing upon each other. Now, there had been a domiciliary visit and arrest of the Secretary of Tunku Alum in Singapore. This could not be done under English law. It might be done under the Indian Penal Code; but he thought the noble Earl the Secretary of State would find that the law had been strained, and that the magistrate had with the same breath ordered the arrest of the Secretary and the search for the letters he had written, and that his noble Friend would not approve of these proceedings which were too much like domiciliary visits under French law. The result had been that the Secretary of Tunku Alum had been prosecuted, not by the Attorney General, but by the legal adviser of the Maharaja of Johore, and that he had endeavoured to implicate Mr. Read and Mr. Sullivan, an Irish Member of Parliament, in waging war against the Maharaja of Johore. Mr. Read had, he thought, rather too hastily resigned in consequence his seat in the Legislative Council and his office of magistrate; and this had caused much regret in the Straits.


in reply, said, that the information received at the Colonial Office was to the effect that the Colonial Government at Singapore had thought it necessary to take proceedings against the Secretary of Tunku Alum; and he thought that the domiciliary visit referred to by his noble Friend might have been connected with that proceeding. Upon the despatch containing that information being received his Predecessor at the Colonial Office telegraphed to the Governor of the Colony to send over particulars. Those particulars had not yet arrived; and, therefore, he could not give any information on the question. The same despatch mentioned that disturbances had occurred; but no details had arrived, and they were waiting to receive them. With regard to Mr. Read, the Government highly appreciated the services of that gentleman, who was well known at the Straits Settlements and occupied an important position there, and he would be very glad to hear that Mr. Read found it possible to return to the service of the Government. He would take care, when the Papers were before him, if there was any ground for inquiry, that it should be made.


said, that what had fallen from the noble Earl with regard to Mr. Read would give much satisfaction. He must repeat that the money paid to Tunku Alum was not in any way British money.