Copyright
William Henry Parr Greswell.

Outlines of British colonisation online

. (page 29 of 31)
Online LibraryWilliam Henry Parr GreswellOutlines of British colonisation → online text (page 29 of 31)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


ference, are tributary to Ceylon.

Divisions. The island is divided into seven provinces : (i) the
Western, (2) North-Western, (3) Southern, (4) Central, (5)
Uva Province, (6) Eastern, (7) North Central, (8) Northern.
Altogether, 2| million acres are cultivated out of 13! millions ; and,
allowing for tanks, lakes, rivers, swamps, there are about 3 million
acres of forest-land capable of being cultivated. The greater portion
of Crown reserve-land is in the dry zone. There is a limit, there-
fore, to the tea-producing areas. 1

Physical Features. The interior of Ceylon forms an elevated
plateau, with an average elevation of 6000 feet, from which rise
peaks to a still further height the most remarkable being Pedara-
tallagulla, 8300 feet, and Adams Peak, 7430 feet. The whole
mountain region of Ceylon is said to cover an area of 4300 miles.
On the north the island is level, and a chain of small islands and
sand-banks, called Adam's Bridge, connects it with the mainland.
Trincomalee, the headquarters of the naval commander in the
East Indies, is one of the great harbours of the world. The
island is well wooded, and is intersected by many streams, the
longest being the Mahavilia-Ganga, 200 miles in length, and flow-
ing into the sea near Trincomalee Bay. The scenery is very
beautiful, and the ascent from the town and port of Colombo by
railway and road to Newera Ellia, the well-known European
sanatorium, is one of the most picturesque in the world.

Population. 1881, 2,763,984; 1891, 3,008,239 : consisting of (i)
the Singhalese, the most numerous ; (2) the Tamils, a race of
South India ; (3) the Moormen or Mohammedans ; (4) the
Burghers or Eurasians ; (5) the Europeans, of whom there are
about 5000.

Chief Towns. Colombo, the capital, 130,000, with an area of
eleven square miles ; Galle, or Point de Galle, with an excellent
harbour; Trincomalee, a fortified post on the east coast; Kandy, in
the interior, once the capital of native sovereigns ; Newera Ellia,
forty-seven miles south of Kandy ; Batticaloa, in the East Province ;

1 Paper by T. Ferguson, Proceedings Royal Colonial Institute, vol. xxiii.



336 British Colonisation

Kartmegala, in the North-West Province ; Jaffna, in the North
Province, are all places of importance.

Government. Ceylon is a Crown colony, administered by (i) a
Governor ; (2) an Executive Council of five members, viz. the
Lieutenant-Governor and Colonial Secretary, the officer command-
ing the troops, the Attorney-General, the Treasurer, and the
Auditor-General ; (3) a nominated Legislative Council of seventeen
members, including the Executive Council, four other office-
holders, and eight unofficial members.

Trade. Imports, 1891, including specie, Rs. 66,635, 392. Exports,
Rs. 58,799,744. The leading export is now tea. The amount sent
home for consumption in the United Kingdom was 70,000,000 Ibs.
in 1891-2. There is a growing market in Australasia. Into the
colony of Victoria alone no less than 15,310,442 Ibs. were imported
during the year ending December 31, I890. 1 Of this quantity
China sent 9,544,655 Ibs. by Foochow Foo, and 1,396,887 Ibs. by
Hong Kong ; the Bengal Presidency sent 2,707,457 Ibs., and
Ceylon 877,273 Ibs. The duty at Victorian ports is only id.
Victorians are great tea-drinkers.

Products. In 1891 there were exported 89,692 cwt. of coffee,
5)679,339 Ibs. of cinchona, 68,274,420 Ibs. of tea, 20,532 cwt. of
cocoa, 422,109 Ibs. of cardamoms, 2,309,771 Ibs. of cinnamon in
bales, 409,251 cwt. of cocoa-nut oil, 400,268 cwt. of plumbago. It
maybe remarked that coffee has fallen from 139,283 cwt. in 1888 to
its present amount of 89,692 cwt., whilst tea has leapt up from
23,670,268 Ibs. to its present amount. For 1892-3 the tea-crop is
calculated to be about 80,000,000 Ibs. Ceylon is also a gem-pro-
ducing colony, such as sapphires, rubies, catseyes ; and in 1891 it
was calculated that the total finds were worth ,20,000. In 1891
the pearl-fisheries were very valuable, yielding a net revenue of
,86,000. In the low country the cocoa-nut palm is very profitable.
Of cocoa-nut oil the export has trebled in ten years, and the other
products of the palm (coir, copra, nuts, etc.) have advanced at an
equal rate. The cocoa-nut trees take twelve to fifteen years
before they become profitable. Rice, cacao, and tobacco can also
be cultivated. Ceylon is said to be the best school available in
the world for tropical agriculturists. The danger of this fertile
island is the unusual one of over-production, as has happened in
the case of cinchona. In 1890 New South Wales imported
1 Statistical Register of Victoria, 1890.




Appendices 337

8,785,015 Ibs. of tea, China sending 5,528,856 Ibs., India 318,170
Ibs., Ceylon 231,065 Ibs. Through Hong Kong 690,480 Ibs. was
sent. In both Australian colonies the superior Ceylon teas have a
growing market. It may be noted that the whole amount of
Ceylon tea imported into Australasia for nine months ending
September 1891 was 2,465,242 Ibs. A large market may also arise
in the United States.

Revenue. 1891, ^1,309,781. Expenditure, ^1,198,391.

Public Debt.ifyi, ^2,535,247, the rupee at is. 5^d.

Public Works. There are four railways in Ceylon :

(1) From Colombo to Kandy, .

(2) From Kandy to Malele,

(3) From Colombo to Kaltura,

(4) From Peredenia to Nanuoya,

Total,

There are more than 1400 miles of metalled roads, and of
gravelled and natural roads 859 and 630 miles respectively. There
is a canal system of 167 miles. There are 1203 miles of telegraph,
connecting with the Indian system. The harbour at Colombo has
cost more than ,690,000.

Communications. Colombo, chief port and naval station, is
6000 miles from London, 2100 from Aden, 900 from Bombay, 600
from Madras, 1600 from Singapore, 2000 from Mauritius, 3000
from Western Australia. The voyage from London to Colombo, -vid
the Suez Canal, generally occupies 20 days.

Chief Dates.
543 B.C. Founding of the Kandian kingdom, which lasted up to

1815, under 170 kings and queens.
306 B.C. Buddhism introduced.
1505 A.D. Landing of the Portuguese.
1656 Portuguese supplanted by Dutch.

1795 Ceylon taken by the British, and made part of the Pre-

sidency of Madras.

1 80 1 Constituted a separate colony.

1802 Formal cession to England by the Peace of Amiens.

1803 The Areca-nut War. First native war.

1815 The Kandian kingdom destroyed. Second native war.

1833 Establishment of present form of government.

1837-1867. Development of the coffee industry.
1867-1892. Development of the tea industry.



338 British Colonisation



THE MALDIVES.

The Maldives are groups of coral islands about 500 miles to the
south-west of Ceylon, of which island they are a dependency.
There are thirteen main groups, which are divided politically.
The cocoa-nut palm grows well. There has always been a great
traffic in cowrie-shells. Dried' fish is sent in large quantities to
Ceylon. The population is said to be about 30,000, most of them
being engaged in fishing. The Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch, and
French have all come to the Maldives. They fell under the
British power in 1795. The inhabitants are Mohammedans, and
are said to have been converted A.D. 1200. The head of the
Government is the Sultan.



VIII. MAURITIUS.

Area. 708 square miles, with an extreme length of 36 miles
and extreme breadth of 28 miles.

Divisions. The island is divided into nine districts : (i) Port
Louis, (2) Pamplemousses, (3) Riviere du Rempart, (4) Flacq,
(5) Grand Port, (6) Savanne, (7) Moka, (8) Plaine Wilhelms,
(9) Black River.

Physical Features. Mauritius is of volcanic formation, sur-
rounded by coral reefs. The surface is covered with rugged
mountains, rising nearly 3000 feet. The highest peak is Piton de
la Riviere Noir (2900). The island is subject to hurricanes, of
which the most noted were those happening in 1754 and 1773,
in the latter of which 32 ships were stranded in the harbour
and 360 houses levelled in Port Louis. But the worst hurricane of
all was that of 1892, by which 1200 lives were lost, no fewer than
280 being buried without identification ; and 50 churches out of
60 were either ruined or demolished. The velocity of the wind on
this occasion is said to have been 121 miles an hour at the Royal
Observatory. One-third of Port Louis was destroyed, the loss in
property being estimated at 12,000,000 rupees.

Population. 1891, 370,588, of whom 206,038 were males and
164,550 females.

Chief Towns. Port Louis, the capital, 61,170.



Appendices 339

Government. Mauritius with its dependencies is administered
by : (i) a Governor; (2) an Executive Council of five, with two
unofficial members ; (3) a Legislative Council of twenty-seven,
eight being ex officio, nine nominated by the Governor (of these
five are unofficial), and ten elected on a moderate franchise. In
Mauritius the Crown reserves legislation by order in Council.

Trade. The trade of the island passes almost entirely through
Port Louis. Imports, 1891, ,2,562,250; exports, 1891, 2,430,840.

Sir R. W. Rawson has calculated that during the years 1872-
1886 Mauritius imported one-fifth from the United Kingdom, one-
half from British possessions, and more than a quarter from foreign
countries. She also exported nearly three-fourths to British
possessions, and 14 per cent, to the United Kingdom and foreign
countries. The exports exceeded the imports by 52 per cent.
Mauritius trades with India, New South Wales, France. In 1891,
imports from United Kingdom, ,664,782 ; exports to, 277,415.

Products. Sugar and rum chiefly ; also vanilla and aloe fibre.
Mauritius raises scarcely anything for her own consumption, the
island being almost entirely given up to sugar-growing. It imports
rice from India, breadstuffs from Australia, cured fish and sheep
from South Africa, and oxen from Madagascar.

Revenue. 1891, 759>5 6 5- Expenditure, 1891, 817,470; the
rupee counting 2s.

Public Debt. 1891, ^784,449.

Public Works. There are 73 miles of railway, on two lines 38
miles on the North line and 35 on the Midland line.

Defence Works. Fort Adelaide and Fort George, above Port
Louis. There is a garrison of 1000 men. The military contribu-
tion is about 21,000 per annum.

Communication. The voyage to Mauritius by the Suez Canal
takes about 24 days. By Natal and the Cape the voyage takes a
longer time.

The dependencies of Mauritius are the Seychelles Islands,
Rodrigues, Diego Garcia, and about 70 other small islands, con-
taining altogether a population of about 16,000. The principal
exports of these islands are cocoa-nuts, cocoa-nut oil, Indian corn,
cacao ; also nutmegs, and the celebrated cocos-de-mer, said by
some to have been the 'forbidden fruit.' The Seychelles are 940
miles from Mauritius, the largest island being Mahe, 17 miles long
and 4 miles broad, with Victoria as the capital. Rodrigues is 300



34o British Colonisation

miles from Mauritius, and is 18 miles long and 7 miles broad.
Rodrigues was very useful to the British when Mauritius was
taken from the French, and was used as a sanatorium. Diego
Garcia is the chief of the Oil Island group. It lies on the direct
route from the Red Sea to Australia, and is used as a coaling-
station.

Chief Dates.

1507. Cerne' (Mauritius) discovered by a Portuguese, Dom Pedro

Mascarenhas.

1590. Visited by the Dutch, and called Mauritius.
1644. Occupied by the Dutch.
1689. Voyage of Francois Leguat to Rodrigues.
1710. Abandoned by the Dutch.

1715. Taken by the French and called Isle de France.
1734-46. Administration of Mahe de Labourdonnais.
1748. Attack of Boscawen on Mauritius.
1754. A great hurricane.

1810. Mauritius taken by General Abercrombie.
1814. British possession confirmed by Treaty of Paris.
1868. A hurricane.

1884-5. Date of the present constitution.
1892. A terrible hurricane.



IX. HONG KONG.

Area. 29 square miles. The length of the island of Hong
Kong is 1 1 miles, its breadth from 2 to 5 miles. The peninsula of
Kowloon, facing Hong Kong, is 2f square miles. Other small
islands, known as Stonecutter's, Green, Apleechow, Middle
Island, Round Island, are included in the colony.

Physical Features. The island of Hong Kong is mountainous,
some of the peaks rising to 2000 feet. The chief feature of the
colony is its magnificent harbour, with an area of ten square miles.
It is separated from the mainland by the Ly-ee-moon strait, not
more than half-a-mile in width. From its position with regard to
China it has been termed the pivot of Chinese commerce. It lies
just within the tropics. It is swept by the south-west monsoon



Appendices 341

from March to September, by the north-east monsoon from
October to February.

Population. 1891, 221,441, of whom 210,995 were Chinese,
8545 Europeans.

Chief Town. The city of Victoria, on the north side, 221,141,
containing nearly the whole population.

Government. Hong Kong is a Crown colony, and is ad-
ministered : (i) by a Governor ; (2) an Executive Council of six ;
(3) a Legislative Council of twelve, including the Governor. Of
these, five nominated members, one usually a Chinese, form the
unofficial element.

Trade. 1891, imports, from the United Kingdom, ,2,732,157.
Exports, to the United Kingdom, ; 1,101,702. About half of the
whole trade is with China. The junk tonnage is estimated at
2,000,000 tons, and these vessels are most useful in distributing
British merchandise in the non-treaty ports. About a third of the
trade is with India in tea, silk, and opium. Hong Kong is a free
port.

Products. Hong Kong produces nothing worth speaking of,
the colony being simply a distributing centre. The tea and silk
trade is largely controlled by Hong Kong merchants. Opium,
sugar, flour, cotton goods, sandal-wood, ivory, betel, etc., are also
distributed largely. It may possibly have a future as a manu-
facturing centre. Sugar-refining and ice and rope factories exist.

Revenue. 1891, ^421,938. Expenditure, ^426,893.

Public Debt. ist January 1891, ^210,000.

Public Works. The great reservoir of Tytam-took, capable of
storing 350,000,000 gallons of water ; the great sea-wall or praya ;
five docks, and three slips.

Communication. Hong Kong is distant 40 miles from Macao
(Portuguese), 95 from Canton, 800 from Shanghai, 650 from
Manila (Spanish), 900 from Saigon (capital of French Cochin
China), 1200 from Labuan and Borneo, 1400 from Singa-
pore. Hong Kong, therefore, is admirably placed in regard
to the Chinese markets and the European trade-centres. Hong
Kong is 6000 miles distant from Vancouver Island and the ter-
minus of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and can be reached from
England by this route in 36 days.

Defence Forces. Hong Kong is the headquarters of the China
Squadron. There is an Imperial garrison of 1300, towards the



342 British Colonisation

cost of which the colony contributes 20,000 annually. There is
an armed police of 700, composed of Europeans, Sikhs, and
Chinese.



X. THE STRAITS SETTLEMENTS.

Area. (i) The island of Singapore has an area of 206 square
miles, being 27 miles long and 14 wide.

(2) The island of Penang has an area of 107 square miles, being
15 miles long and 9 broad.

(3) Malacca, on the mainland, has an area of 659 square miles,
being 42 miles in length, and from 8 to 25 in breadth.

(4) The Bindings, on the mainland, has an area of 200 square
miles.

The Cocos or Keeling Islands, and Christmas Island, are also
included under the colony of the Straits Settlements.

Physical Features. The Straits Settlements, lying along the
east shores of the Straits of Malacca, facing Sumatra, consist
therefore partly of islands and partly of small littoral strips,
in juxtaposition to the native Malay States. For these they
provide a trade outlet. For a long time the most important
British post in these waters was Bencoolen in Sumatra. The
geographical value of the colony is obvious at a glance.

Population. 1891, 506,577, of which Singapore had 182,650,
Penang 232,977, Malacca 90,950. The population consists chiefly
of Chinese and Malays.

Chief Towns. Singapore, Georgetown, Malacca.

Government. The Straits Settlements constitute a Crown
colony, and are administered by : (i) a Governor ; (2) Executive
Council ; (3) Legislative Council of seventeen, ten being official
and seven unofficial. The seat of Government is Singapore.

Trade. 1891, imports, 21, 656,366. Exports, 20,129,982; the
dollar reckoned at 35. 2 Jd. With regard to the distribution of this
trade, it has been calculated that the Straits Settlements furnished
( l88 5) 3-3 P er cent - of the imports and 2.2 per cent, of the exports of
the Empire, but only 1.3 and 0.8 respectively of those of the United
Kingdom. More than half their trade (56 per cent.) was with
foreign countries, one-fifth (20 per cent.) with the United Kingdom. 1

1 In 1891, imports from the United Kingdom, 3,426,835 ; exports to,
3,905,406.



Appendices 343

As a trade centre Singapore occupies an important position.
Within a radius of 3000 miles live more than half the population
of the world, and within this radius Great Britain has a trade of
more than ,251,000,000, against 86,000,000 in all other British
dependencies. 1 The ports of the colony are all free. The local
trade with the Malay Peninsula is increasing largely.

Products. In Singapore, gambier plantations, Liberian coffee,
pineapples ; in Penang, nutmegs, the betel-palm, and sugar and
tapioca plantations ; in the Dindings, tin, ebony, timber, and
turtles. It is, however, as an entrepot for the Eastern trade that
the colony is most valuable. It is not a port of final destination.

-Revenue. 1891, ,609,862. Expenditure, 732,997. The port
being free, revenue arises from (i) opium and spirits, (2) stamps,
(3) land.

Defence. Singapore is the headquarters of the Straits division.
The aggregate naval expenditure, on the basis of 50 per ton for
4000 tons, is 200,000 per annum, spent by England. With
regard to land defences, the expenditure is 136,000 per annum,
of which the colony has to pay 100,000. In addition, they have
paid 60,000 for barrack accommodation. They maintain a body
of Sikh police. The rate is 35. 6d. per head for defence purposes,
the home rate being i6s. for every inhabitant of the United
Kingdom. 2

THE Cocos ISLANDS.

These islands are said to have been discovered by Captain
Keeling in 1609. They are a group of coral islands in the Indian
Ocean. They have been colonised by a Scotchman named Ross,
whose descendants still live there. In 1857 they were taken
possession of by Captain Fremantle. They are twenty in number.
The population is about 500, consisting partly of Bantamese.



XL BRITISH NORTH BORNEO.

Area. 24,000 square miles, with a coast-line of 600 miles. In
size Borneo (280,000 square miles) ranks third amonst the islands
of the world, coming after Australia and New Guinea.

1 Paper by Sir F. Weld, late Governor of Straits Settlements, Proceedings
Royal Colonial Institute, vol. xv.
a Times Report, Debate in the House of Lords, July 24, 1891.



344 British Colonisation

Physical Features. * The shape of the island of Borneo
resembles that of a Burgundy pear, the stalk end pointing north-
wards towards China, and the base lying southwards upon the
equatorial islands of the Eastern Archipelago. Supposing the
stalk end of this huge pear to be cut off to the extent of about one-
eighth of the whole length of the fruit, the parts so detached would,
roughly speaking, represent the portion of territories ceded to the
British North Borneo Company. They consequently possess a
coast-line in three directions.' x The most important streams are
the Kinabatangan, Labuk, and Segama, flowing eastward, and the
Papar and Kimanis, flowing westward. At the north-east of the
island the peak of Kinabalow is said to be 13,680 feet.

Settlements. The chief stations or settlements are : (i) Silam,
(2) Sandakan, both on the north coast ; (3) Kudat, on the north ;
(4) Gaya, Papar, Kimanis, on the west. There are many sub-
stations.

Silam was opened chiefly for experimental gardening; Sandakan,
with a population of 6319 (1891) of natives and Chinese, is the
principal centre of trade. The settlement has a frontage of about
5000 feet. The government is administered by a Governor
assisted by a Council and by Residents.

Trade. Imports, 1891, 1,936,547 dollars. Exports, 1,238,277
dollars. The trade is almost entirely in the hands of the Chinese,
who traffic directly with the natives.

Products. Edible birds'-nests, sago, rattans, gutta-percha, a
resin called 'damar/trepang^pearl-shells, sharks j -fins,and camphor.
Liberian coffee, cocoa, and sugar-cane grow well. Tobacco is one
of the most promising products, especially on the banks of the
Suan Lambar River, near Sandakan. The leaf, like that of
Sumatra tobacco, is good for wrapping.

The birds'-nests industry is a peculiar one. The nest is that of
a swift that builds in countless numbers in certain caves. The nest
is made of a soft fungoid growth that encrusts the limestone in
damp places : it is about an inch thick, brown outside, white
inside, and is woven in a filament backwards and forwards by the
bird, as a caterpillar weaves a cocoon. The natives detach the
nests by climbing up bamboo ladders and thrusting at them with
a light pronged spear. The guano is valued at $ to ^10 a ton,

1 Paper by Sir Walter Medhurst, Proceedings of the Royal Colonial Institute,
vol. xvi.



Appendices 345

and the value of the nests is estimated at 25,000 dollars annually.
Borneo is the only place where the ' orang-outang' is found. Gold
has been found on the Kinabatangan River, and indications of coal
have been discovered in many places. On the coast the pearl-
oyster exists of the same variety as that found off Thursday
Island. There is a great variety of useful timber in Borneo, the
billian or ironwood being plentiful. Borneo timber supplies the
Melbourne market. As British North Borneo lies on a highway
between China and Australia, it occupies a rare position as an
exporting country, a labour market, and a trade centre. The
powers of the Company are derived solely from the Sultans of
Brunei and Sulu. All the British Government did was to incor-
porate by royal charter.

Revenue. 1891, 375,507 dollars. Expenditure, 468,644 dollars.
The revenue is derived from opium, sales of land, royalties on
exports.

In connection with British North Borneo, the territory ruled
over by Rajah Brooke of Sarawak may be noticed. In 1842 Sir
James Brooke gained a land concession from the Sultan of Borneo
of part of Borneo extending over an area of 30,000 square miles,
and holding a population of 240,000. The imports and exports of
this little principality exceed three millions of dollars.



LABUAN.

Closely connected with British North Borneo is the island of
Labuan, the smallest of the British colonies, situated six miles off
the north-west coast, and about thirty miles from Brunei, the
capital of Borneo proper. Its area is 30 square miles. It was
ceded to England in 1847 by the Sultan of Borneo, at which time
it was uninhabited. Sir James Brooke was appointed the first
Governor. The island has a fine harbour, and was supposed to
have extensive coal-mines, but the output has proved to be in-
significant. Labuan, it was thought, might prove to be a great
coaling centre in the Eastern seas. It is a market for much of the
produce of the coasts of Borneo and the Sulu Archipelago. There
are three sago manufactories on the island. The inhabitants are
chiefly Malays from Borneo and Chinese. Cattle and goats are
reared, and about 2000 acres are under cultivation. The
Governor of British North Borneo is Governor of Labuan. In



346 British Colonisation

1871 the military garrison was withdrawn. There is a local police
force. The nearest telegraph station is Singapore. The popula-
tion is about 6000. The island is 9000 miles from London, vid
the Suez Canal. Imports, 1891, ^54,537 5 exports, 39,766.



XII. GIBRALTAR, MALTA, CYPRUS, ADEN,
PERIM, SOCOTRA.

These possessions of Great Britain are strategic posts occupied
for the sake of securing the route to the East, rather than colonies
in the strict sense of the term. There is little scope for overflow
of population here. Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus are the Mediterranean
strongholds on this side of the Suez Canal ; Aden .and Perim
guard the entrance to the Red Sea from the Indian Ocean. The
traffic through the Suez Canal is enormous, and more than three-
fourths of it is carried in British vessels. India and Further
India, Australia, and the South Seas .send their argosies by this
route. If it were blocked in time of war, trade would be diverted



Online LibraryWilliam Henry Parr GreswellOutlines of British colonisation → online text (page 29 of 31)