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fire, in the midst of an immense hostile multitude and assassins, altogether gave to their situation a most appalling prospect.
• The little band, consisting only of seventeen British grenadiers, with the officers naval and military already mentioned, and a few seamen belonging to the gig and barge, had to secure possession of the fort, and to provide for their own safety, in the determined resolution of selling their lives dearly, should any attack be made before the arrival of reinforcements. "Having carefully reconnoitred by the light of torches the interior of the palace-court ; and ordered all the entrances except one to be shut and barricadoed, Colonel Gillespie stationed the grenadiers at the principal entrance, and the strictest guard was kept up. Soon after midnight, they had the satisfaction of hailing the welcome arrival of Major Trench, with about sixty men of the 89th regiment; and the remaining part of the ordered advance, under Lieutenant-Colonel M.Leod, joined the little garrison early the next morning.'
If, to some readers, this splendid action should wear the aspect of rashness, it should not be forgotten, that the stake was fairly proportioned to the hazard, and that not a moment was to be lost in effecting the only measure that could place a barrier between the executioners and their victims. That very night had been fixed as the hour of blood. Massacre, rapine, and conflagration had begun,-flame and the sword had actually commenced their work, when this handful of heroes interposed. An American, who acted as supercargo to a large Chinese trading vessel, then lying at Palembang, gave a fearful account of the fate to which the inhabitants of the town had been exposed; and his joy at the deliverance was by so much the greater, that his junk, with all on board, was the first object marked for destruction. Nor was the enterprise without strong reasons in its justification on mere military grounds. Its very incredibility increased its probabilities of success. Night always magnifies numbers, and the main body was near enough to allow for reliance on a sufficient duration of first impressions, kept up by the successive closing-up of the different divisions. The more regular assault of so formidable a fortress might not have been equally successful, and the results of this extraordinary exploit placed every thing in our hands. We gained possession of a strong fortification, garrisoned by men desperately brave, and defended by two hundred and forty-two pieces of cannon, without the loss of a man.
Crowned heads reason strangely, and involve themselves occasionally in strange dilemmas. Each one, in his own instance, holds hard for the divinity' that doth hedge a king', and stickles fiercely for indefeasible right. Yet, these throned folk make the slightest possible scruple of pushing one another from their stools, and of appropriating the divinely constituted power of their neighbours to themselves, or to such other persons as may best suit their purposes. We do not, of course, apply this dilemma to Sir Stamford Raffles, who went to work on simpler and more tenable principles, when he dethroned the ruffian who had licensed the deep tragedy of which the British cut short the catastrophe; but we are certainly reminded by this act of poetical as well as of natural justice, of other deeds, similar in ostensible character, though altogether dissimilar in spirit. The Holy Alliance have used almost
as little ceremony with principalities in Europe, as · The Company' have done with Musnuds in the East. But this is high matter, and not to be episodically touched. We go on, then, to state, that a brother of the Sultan was invested with royalty; and that, when the * direful sacrifices of Lord Castlereagh' had severed Java from the British possessions in India, the monster was re-enthroned by the very Dutch whose countrymen he had massacred. In a subsequent affair with the Sultan of Djocjocarta, Mr. Raffles was himself present; and the business terminated much in the same way, by the substitution of the hereditary prince for his dethroned father.
The Governor of Java was placed in embarrassing circumstances by the state of the currency, almost wholly consisting of depreciated paper, which had, to a certain extent', been guaranteed by Lord Minto. Consequent difficulties met Mr. Raffles at every turn; and independently of the obstacles which it threw in the way of commerce, it pressed upon the energies of the local authorities, in the shape of a positive debt, due from Government to the public. The claim, having been admitted, did not honourably admit of evasion; and the only question which presented itself to Mr. Raffles, concerned the means of its reduction. Had he taken it up in the usual way, and employed British capital in its liquidation, he must, of course, have saddled the East-India Company with its amount, 325,0001.; he preferred, therefore, a mode of extinction less onerous to his employers, and met colonial demands with colonial property. He disposed of so much of the land which belonged to Government, as enabled him to suppress one-fourth of the depreciated medium, and substituted for the other portion a kind of Exchequer bills, bearing interest, and Bank notes issued on the security of real property. Wise, however, and cautious, and urged on by extreme circumstances as were these measures, they were strongly disapproved by the Court of Leadenhall Street; a disapprobation anticipated by Lord Minto, while he conveyed to Mr. Raffles his own unqualified approval of the plan, as an able expedient in a case of great emergency. His Lordship's decision will, we believe, be supported by the assent of every impartial individual. Another unpleasant affair occurred at about the same time, and while
Mr. Raffles was overwhelmed with business of the most difficult and urgent kind, in the preferment, by General Gillespie, of charges injurious to his moral character' as an officer of government, and, had they been susceptible of proof, ruin.
ous to his future prospects in life'. The matter was immediately taken up by the Bengal Government, and ended in the entire and most honourable acquittal of Mr. Raffles. Even the Court of Directors, as the ultimate referee, expressed their opinion, that the accusations had not only not been made 'good', but that they had been disproved, to an extent sel
dom practicable in a case of defence'; and, while they intimated doubts respecting the expediency of some of his public measures, stated their strong conviction, that the administration of Mr. Raffles stood not only 'exempt from any sordid or
selfish taint', but that it had been guided by motives per' fectly correct and laudable'. Gillespie, we believe, was a strange creature, brave, to the very edge of rashness, but, to use Lord Minto's phrase, full of civil defects', and an awkward person to act with in civil life.
We regret the impossibility of giving in detail the history of that wise and beneficent administration which has made the name of Raffles indelible in the grateful memory of the Javanese. Deeply must it ever be lamented, that the same policy which committed the interests of England and the world, at a most critical period, to a most inadequate negotiator, cut short the execution of plans, and the extension of a system of government, which would not only have made Java entirely and permanently British, but would have rendered the influence of England over the native states of the Indian Archipelago, more efficient to all purposes of interest and authority, than could have been the result of positive subjugation.
Notwithstanding the decided approbation and support of Lord Minto, (which the death of that nobleman rendered, indeed, of little avail,) Mr. Raffles still remained under a cloud. The charges to which we have alluded, though promptly and victoriously met, were not as yet disposed of; and the feeling of the Court of Directors was so decidedly in opposition to the policy which he had adopted, that they determined on superseding him, while, as an attestation to his integrity, they offered him the Residency of Bencoolen. Domestic calamity, however, the loss of his wife, and the death of friends, with the effects of climate, and the anxieties consequent on the circumstances in which he was placed, had so far impaired his health, as to make his return to Europe absolutely necessary; and he only waited for the arrival of his successor, to set him at liberty for the voyage. His departure was accompanied by the strongly expressed regret both of Europeans and natives; and the present of a magnificent service of plate marked their sense of ħis merits. The officers of his immediate staff gave testimony of their attachment in the same way. The delay connected with the preparations for embarkation, having given Mr. Fendall, the new governor, an opportunity of inspecting the records of administration, he not only avowed his approbation of all the principal acts of his predecessor, but, without one alteration,
continued Mr. Raffles's personal staff in their former situ"ations, and expressed his determination to attend to all Mr. • Raffles's wishes. When the ex-governor actually embarked, the roads of Batavia were crowded with boats, and the deck of the vessel was covered with offerings of fruit, flowers, and poultry. On the way home, the ship touched at St. Helena, and Mr. Raffles had an interview with Napoleon, gratifying, of course, to himself, as a matter of curiosity, but unattended by any particular circumstances to make it worth citing in its details. He landed at Falmouth, in July 1816, reached London on the 16th, and the next day, presented himself at the India House.
His situation at this time would have been depressing enough to a man less happily constituted; but the firmness of his character, the elasticity of his mind, and his lofty confidence, not merely in his innocence, but in the sound and superior policy of his public acts, bore him up against all adverse circumstances. Nor was his equanimity in the least shaken, though his views were condemned, not only by the Directors, but by the Marquis of Hastings, the new Governor-general of India. The presence of Mr. Raffles in England, his high literary character, and the attractions of his society, wakened an interest in England, concerning the Island of Java, which had never before been felt; and amid the urgency of business, and the routine of social and literary engagements, he wrote his history of that important region. That work, voluminous and profound as it is, was completed in about six months; and, although in some degree exhibiting signs of its rapid composition, it remains a conspicuous monument of learning, ability, and industry.
In the beginning of 1817, Mr. Raffles formed a new matrimonial engagement, and in the same year, visited the Continent, having been previously presented to the Prince Regent, from whose hand he received the honour of knighthood. During his tour, he sought and obtained an interview with the King of Holland; but his benevolent representations in behalf of the natives of Java, were unsuccessful in preventing that course of grinding and ruinous policy which has worse than undone all that Sir Stamford Raffles had succeeded in accomplishing. In England, he was a frequent guest at Claremont; and when he
took his leave previously to his last departure for the East, the Princess Charlotte presented him with a memorial-ring. He embarked in October 1817, the Court of Directors having acknowledged his ' zeal and talents,' by conferring on him the title of Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen, as a peculiar mark of the favourable sentiments which the Court entertained of his merits and services;' a step which must, we suppose,
be taken as a virtual retractation of all previous censures.
The circumstances under which he entered on his new government, might have appalled a mind less firm : in him, the signs of decay and mal-administration produced only the determination to retrieve every thing. Earthquakes, too, had ruined the country; the roads were impassable; the streets were covered with rank grass; the Government-house was a den of raven
ous dogs and polecats '; yet, he complains, that all the ravages of the visitation were nothing to our Java volcanoes.' Java, indeed, seems always to have been near his heart; and nothing, not even his splendid creation at Singapore, could ever supersede its claims, or console him for the hard necessity of abandoning them. He felt, he could not but feel, that he had originated on that fine island, a series of measures which would have rendered it the Great Britain of the Indian Archipelago, and which would have assuredly spread over all the neighbouring islands, the blessings of knowledge and civilization. Still, without wasting a moment in unavailing regret or discouragement, he grappled steadily with his present duties, hedged in as they were with apparently insurmountable difficulties, and shackled as he was, in most of his political measures, by the contrary views of his employers. One of his first steps was, to emancipate the Company's slaves; and he went on to persecute slavery and the slave-trade in all their forms. He found that the Dutch were brooding over gigantic schemes, aiming at nothing less than the engrossing of all power and influence throughout the Archipelago; that they were urging on a system of encroachment, which would terminate not only in the exclusion of English commerce from the islands, but in a most injurious interception of the trade with China. The great passes were already secured; the straits of Sunda and Malacca were cominanded; and the British navigation was left without a port between the Cape of Good Hope and China. He lost no time in adopting: measures of counteraction; but, with that fatality which seems to have attended all the transactions between him and his employers, he found himself not only neglected, but disavowed and condemned.
In the mean time, Sir Stamford was making himself acquainted with the interior of the Island. A first tour was into a part of