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.
James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1856 – Rumours and Mischief
At Bau, the chief town of the Chinese in Sarawak, the secretary of the Kungsi showed a letter from the Straits Branch of the Tien-Ti-Hue to a Malay trader named Jeludin, urging them to act against the foreigner. I mention these facts to show the extraordinary ramifications of these secret societies, which in every country where they exist are the source of endless trouble and disorder.
During the month of November  rumours were abroad that the Chinese Gold Company intended to surprise the small stockades which constituted the only defences of the town of Kuching, and which, as no enemy was suspected to exist in the country, were seldom guarded by more than four men each. Mr Crookshank, who was then administering the government, took the precaution (as has been stated) to man them with a sufficient garrison, for it was said that during one of their periodical religious feasts several hundred men were to collect quietly, and make a rush for the arsenal. On the Rajah’s return from Singapore he instituted some inquiries into the affair, but could obtain no further information than such as vague rumour afforded. He consequently reduced the garrisons, after punishing the Chinese chiefs; but such experienced officers as Mr Crookshank and the chief constable, Mr Middleton, were not satisfied, feeling that there was mischief in the air; and Mr Charles Johnson wrote to me that if their high tone was not lowered the Chinese would certainly do the country a mischief.
Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John
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