James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1852 – London Tavern

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1852 – London Tavern

A great dinner was given to Sir James Brooke at the London Tavern, on the 30th April [1852], attended by over two hundred men of distinction, and among the many speeches that were made, one by Baron Alderson was especially remarkable. He observed, that the greatest benefactors of the human race have been most abused in their own lifetime, but notwithstanding this, he promised him the approbation of his own conscience, the approbation of all good and reasonable men, and of Almighty God, who does justice and who will reward.

The speech of the evening, however, was that of the guest. Those who had never heard him before were surprised and delighted. His noble presence, his refined manner, the charm of his voice, quite captivated them, whilst his words carried conviction. He wound up by saying, ‘Do not disgrace your public servants by inquiries generated in the fogs of base suspicions; for, remember, a wrong done is like a wound received the scar is ineffaceable. It may be covered by glittering decorations, but there it remains to the end.’ Prophetic words!

Lord Derby’s Government was now in office, and Lord Malmesbury settled with Sir James Brooke that he should be appointed Her Majesty’s representative in the Further East, to enable him to negotiate treaties with foreign powers. He was to begin with Siam and Cochin China. A General Election, however, took place in the autumn of [1852], which sealed the fete of the Conservative Ministry. Sir James had already been named Envoy to Siam, and would have proceeded at once to that country by the special wish of Chaufe Mungkut, the new king, when the Mission was suddenly and unexpectedly put off, owing to His Majesty’s desire to have further time to complete the elaborate funeral ceremonies required by custom for his brother, the late king. Ever since our mission to Siam in [1850], Chaufe Mungkut had kept up a private correspondence with the Rajah of Sarawak, in whose doings he showed great interest.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John


Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner