Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1866 – Promotion

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Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard HMS Tribune.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1865 – Promotion

While in the Tribune, two misfortunes occurred to me on the same day. As we all know, misfortunes never come singly. The sailmaker had reported me for skylarking; and it occurred to me that if he was going to put me in the report, he might as well have a better reason for that extreme action. I therefore rove a line attached to a sailmaker’s needle through the holes of the bench upon which he sat. When he seated himself to begin his work, I jerked the line, and he leaped into the air with a loud cry. That was my first misfortune. The second was entirely due to the rude and thoughtless conduct of another midshipman, who, in passing me as I sat at my sailmaker’s bench, industriously working, tilted me over. I took up the first thing which was handy, which happened to be a carpenter’s chisel, and hurled it at his retreating figure. It stuck and quivered in a portion of his anatomy which is (or was) considered by schoolmasters as designed to receive punishment. I had, of course, no intention of hurting him. But I was reported for the second time that day. I was put on watch and watch for a week, a penance which involved being four hours on and four hours off, my duties having to be done as usual during the watch off in the daytime.

We sailed from Vancouver early in December, [1865]. On 2nd January I was promoted to be acting sub-lieutenant I find that Captain Lord Gillford endorsed my certificate with the statement that Lord Charles Beresford had conducted himself “with sobriety, diligence, attention, and was always obedient to command; and I have been much pleased with the zealous manner in which he has performed his duties.”

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1865 – Pride

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Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard HMS Tribune.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1865 – Pride

Morrison and I worked together at everything. We turned in new boats’ falls, replaced lanyards in wash-deck buckets, as well as taking our turn at all tricks sailmaker’s crew. We put in new clews to a topsail and course. We roped a jib and other fore-and-aft sails. Both of these jobs require great care and practice, and both of them we had to do two or three times before we got them right. A sailmaker knows how difficult it is to keep the lay of the rope right in roping a sail. We used also to go aloft and repair sick seams in the sails to avoid unbending.

Captain Lord Gillford himself could cut out a sail, whether fore-and-aft or square. I have heard him argue with Flood as to the amount of goring to be allowed, and Lord Gillford was always right. It was he who put it into my head to try to teach myself all that I could, by saying, “If a man is a lubber over a job, you ought to be able to show him how to do it, not tell him how to do it.”

We were never so proud as when Lord Gillford sent for us and told us that we had made a good job of roping the new jib. Among other things, I learned from the “snob,” as the shoemaker was called, to welt and repair boots. In after years, I made a portmanteau, which lasted for a long time, for my old friend, Chief Engineer Roffey; and I made many shooting and fishing bags for my brother officers.

Merely for the sake of knowing how to do and how not to do a thing, in later years I have chipped a boiler (a devil of a job), filled coal-sacks, trimmed bunkers, stoked fires and driven engines.

We used up all our spare canvas in the Tribune; and I remember that on one occasion we were obliged to patch the main-royal with a mail-bag, so that the main-royal bore the legend “Letters for England” on it thereafter.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1865 – Sailmaker

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Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard HMS Tribune.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1865 – Sailmaker

I can never be too grateful for the seamanship I learned on board the Tribune. The captain lost no opportunity of teaching us. On one occasion, for instance, we carried away the starboard foremast swifter, in the fore rigging;  the Tribune had rope lower rigging. Captain Lord Gillford, instead of splicing the shroud to the masthead pennants, chose, in order to educate us, to strip the whole foremast to a gantline. We got the whole of the lower rigging over the masthead again. I was in the sailmaker’s crew; and another midshipman and myself, together with the forecastle men, fitted in the new shroud, turned it in, wormed, parcelled, and served it; put it over the masthead, and got the fore rigging all a-taunto again. I also helped to make a new foresail and jib out of number one canvas, roped them, put the clews in, and completed the job. Lord Gillford’s object was to teach those under him to carry out the work in the proper shipshape manner. The sailmaker’s crew, among whom was another midshipman, named Morrison, and myself, numbered 15 or 20 men, including able seamen, and we were all as happy as possible. We were taught by one of the best sailmakers in the Service, who was named Flood. We always worked in a sailmaker’s canvas jumper and trousers made by ourselves. I could cut out and make a seaman’s canvas working suit, jumper and trousers, in 30 minutes, using the sailmaker’s stitch of four stitches to the inch.

I had a complete sailmaker’s bag with every sailmaker’s tool necessary; serving and roping mallets, jiggers, seaming and roping palms, all-sized marling-spikes, fids, seam-rubbers, sail-hooks, grease-pot, seaming and roping twine, etc. etc.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1865 – The Tribune

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Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard HMS Tribune.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1865 – The Tribune

CAPTAIN Lord Gillford, afterwards Lord Clanwilliam, was one of the finest seamen, and his ship was one of the smartest ships, in the Service. The Tribune was what we used to call a jackass frigate. She was pierced for 31 guns, was of [1570] tons burthen, and 300 h.p.; not that anything could ever induce the captain to use steam.

Before I joined the Tribune, she had sprung her foremast, so she went up the Fraser River to cut a new spar out of the forest. Such things were done in those days. But on the way up she grounded on the bar. Everything; guns, coal, stores; was taken out of her; anchors were got out; and every effort was made to warp her off. Still she would not move. In this desperate pass, when every man in the ship, except one, was hauling on the purchases, it is on record that when the chaplain put his weight on the rope, away she came. The power of the man of God is remembered even unto this day. Then the Tribune sailed up the river, and they cut a new spar, set it up and rigged it, and she came home with it.

Captain Lord Gillford prided himself on the speed of his ship under sail. He had fitted her with all sorts of extra gear, such as they had in the famous tea-clippers. His tacks and sheets were much thicker than was usual; strengthening pieces were fitted to the sails; there were gaffs for topgallant backstays, and extra braces. His order book was a curiosity. Day after day it bore the same entry: “The course. Carry sail” Sailing from Vancouver to Valparaiso, the Tribune beat the Sutlej, another fine sailing ship commanded by another first-class seaman, by two days.

Captain Lord Gillford’s orders were that sail should never be shortened without his permission. One night when it was blowing hard I went down to the captain’s cabin to ask him if we might take in the topmast studding-sail. The ship was then heeling over. The captain stuck one leg out of his cot and put his foot against the side of the ship. “I don’t feel any water here yet,” says he, and sent me on deck again. The next moment the sail blew away.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1865 – Vancouver

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Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard HMS Tribune.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1865 – Vancouver

Having landed the Queen of the Sandwich Islands at Panama, as I have said, about the middle of June, [1865], we left the Bay early in July, and proceeded to Vancouver, arriving there in the middle of August. There we remained until early in December.

I was placed in charge of a working party from the Clio, to cut a trail through the virgin forest of magnificent timber with which the island was then covered. I was pleased enough to receive an extra shilling a day check-money. Where the flourishing town of Victoria now stands, there were a few log huts, closed in by gigantic woods. When I revisited the country recently, I found a tramway running along what was once my trail, and I met several persons who remembered my having helped to cut it, nearly fifty years before.

I believe that Canada will eventually become the centre of the British Empire; for the Canadians are a splendid nation, gifted with pluck, enterprise and energy.

The free forest life was bliss to a boy of my age. To tell the truth, we were allowed to do pretty well what we liked. In the Clio, which was so easy-going a ship that she was nicknamed “the Privateer.”  We used to go out fishing for salmon with the Indians, in their canoes, using the Indian hook made of shell. To this day the Indians fish for salmon in canoes, using shell hooks. I made a trot, a night-line with a hundred hooks, and hauled up a goodly quantity of fish every morning. I remember that a party of midshipmen (of whom I was not one) from another ship were playing cricket on the island, when a bear suddenly walked out of the forest. The boys instantly ran for a gun and found one in an adjacent cabin, but there were no bullets or caps. So they filled up the weapon with stones from the beach. In the meantime the bear had climbed a tree. The midshipmen levelled the gun at him and fired it with a lucifer match.

We used to go away into the forest deer-shooting, and on one occasion we were lost for a day and a night. It was at this time that I made the acquaintance of the celebrated Mr. Dunsmuir, who became a mayor and a millionaire, simply because he slept one night in the forest; for the sake of coolness. When he awoke in the morning, he found that he had pillowed his head upon a lump of coal. He subsequently obtained an enormous concession of land from the Government and amassed a huge fortune in coal. Two of our lieutenants put money in the scheme. I wrote at the time to my father, asking him to let me have a thousand pounds to invest in the coal business. But he replied affectionately but firmly that, until I ceased to exceed my allowance, he did not think it right that I should embark in a gambling project. The two lucky lieutenants were eventually bought out by Mr. Dunsmuir for a very large sum of money.

I was very happy in the Clio; but, for reasons, it was considered expedient that I should be transferred to the Tribune. Accordingly, I turned over to the Tribune early in December, by the orders of my constant friend, Admiral Charles Eden. He said it would do me good to serve under Captain Lord Gillford. He was right. It did.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1853 – Commission of Enquiry

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 – 1853 – Commission of Enquiry

So closed the year [1852], and on the 1st January [1853] appeared the list of the new ministers the Coalition Ministry of Lord Aberdeen. England loves not coalitions, said D’Israeli; and we certainly did not love this one. Probably to strengthen their parliamentary majority, and yielding to the influence of Mr Cobden, the new Government decided to grant Mr Hume’s demand and issue a Commission to inquire into the conduct of Sir James Brooke. Sir James himself had always courted inquiry, and therefore the Ministry might have communicated their intention to him before he left England, which he had decided to do during the first week in April. But instead of consulting with him, they tried to keep the whole affair dark, and it was only accidentally that Sir James heard of it. I never could understand how a frank, loyal man like Lord Clarendon could lend himself to such proceedings, but I suppose he was overruled by Lord Aberdeen and Mr Sidney Herbert.

Finding that their determination to issue a Commission of Inquiry could no longer be concealed from Sir James Brooke, they wrote to him officially on the subject, and stated that they would call on the Governor General of India to choose Commissioners. They further assured Sir James that ‘the inquiry should be full, fair and complete.’ But the whole transaction had been so underhand, so humiliating to him personally, so derogatory to him as ruler of Sarawak, that he felt it bitterly, and he closed his despatch to Lord Clarendon, April 4, [1853], the day he left England, with these words: It is with sorrow unmixed with anger that I leave the world to judge the services I have rendered and the treatment I have received.’

On Sir James Brooke’s arrival in Singapore he found that while the Government had been reticent with him, they had been confidential with Mr Hume, who repaid that confidence by divulging all the details of the proposed Commission to the editor of a hostile paper in Singapore. This personage made the most of it, and indulged in violent tirades, in which he gloated over the disgrace which had fallen upon Sir James. But this abuse affected none of the Rajah’s friends, who were the flower of Singapore society.

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

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

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

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1850 – Siamese Affairs

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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 – 1850 – Siamese Affairs

We soon started again for Sarawak, and on the 17th of January the Rajah left us for Singapore on his way to England. His three offices were thus filled Mr Scott, afterwards Sir John Scott, was in charge of the Colony of Labuan; Captain Brooke of the Principality of Sarawak; and I remained as acting Commissioner.

I should mention that whilst we were away attending to Siamese affairs, Mr Balestier, Special Envoy from the United States, went to Sarawak in a frigate, the bearer of a letter from the President to Sir James Brooke, as ruler of the State of Sarawak, proposing a convention between the two countries. As a British official, Sir James thought it right to submit the subject to Lord Palmerston, who found nothing objectionable in the proposed arrangement; however, amid the heated controversy that was in progress, the question was unfortunately neglected.

We had all hoped that this visit to Europe was for health’s sake; but the requisite rest could not be obtained, as Sir James found himself at once pursued by the malignity of his enemies Mr Wise and the Eastern Archipelago Company who had found channels to diffuse their false accusations, as I have before noticed, in Mr Hume and Mr Cobden. In the debates in the House, Lord Palmerston spoke out strongly and clearly, and the majority was absolutely crushing; but Joseph Hume did not know when he was beaten, and brought the question again and again before Parliament.

Sir James now turned on his enemies; dragged the Eastern Archipelago Company into court, and the case ended by it being declared that The directors had signed a false certificate, knowing it to be false. This was in regard to their capital. Their charter was therefore abrogated and the seal torn off that document. These directors must have bitterly regretted having joined Wise in his campaign against the Rajah.

Sir James was also busy in answering hostile attacks, and his letters addressed to Mr Drummond, [M.P.], on Mr Hume’s assertions, were considered masterly compositions, completely establishing his case the view entertained by all reasonable men. Mr Sidney Herbert also determined to break a lance with the Rajah, but soon repented of his temerity and retired discomfited from the field. Sir James had this advantage over his adversaries, that his conduct in Borneo had been marked by so much courage, and was so straightforward and honourable, that they could find no weak point in his armour.

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

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1850 – Siam Mission

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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 – 1850 – Siam Mission

On our arrival in Singapore we received the particulars of the debate of July 12, [1850], which had taken place in the House of Commons concerning our proceedings against the Seribas pirates. Though Mr Hume’s motion had been rejected by a great majority, Sir James justly complained that no minister had stood up to express their approval of his policy.

However, though these attacks might irritate, they could not do away with the pleasure afforded by the good news from Sarawak. The civil war which had broken out in Sambas between the Chinese goldworking companies and the Sultan, backed by the Dutch, had caused about 4000 Chinese agriculturist to fly from that country and take refuge in Sarawak. This was a welcome addition, for wherever Chinese settle there are trade and cultivation, and revenue follows in their footsteps.

As soon as we could send off the papers connected with the Siam Mission we proceeded to Sarawak to find great activity there. The Chinese were spreading about the town and in the interior, and the Rajah was soon busy regulating the affairs of the country, preventing the encroachments of the Chinese on the Dyaks, to which they were very prone, and visiting various inland tribes to mark their progress. At one of those villages we were struck by the intelligent questions put by several of the Dyaks regarding Siam and the neighbouring states, and on inquiry we found that before the advent of the white Rajah the rulers of the country were accustomed to send them to pull an oar in the pirate fleets which then cruised throughout these seas. They had evidently used their eyes to some purpose whilst thus employed. A very severe attack of fever and ague interrupted the Rajah’s activity, and he was at length persuaded to listen to the voice of his medical man, and to return to England for the benefit of his health. But he first visited Labuan, which he found still making but slow progress; and, though it appeared at one time that there was really about to be an influx of Chinese and Malays from the capital, when it was found that the Governor was returning to England they made up their minds not to move until he came back. Some of the latter had had their prahus towed over by the Nemesis but they soon went away again, and the contemplated movement never took place. The fact was that at that time they trusted only the English Rajah, and if he were not in Labuan to protect them they would not risk exciting the hostility of the Brunei Government.

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

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1850 – Chaufa Mungkut

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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 – 1850 – Chaufa Mungkut

Sir James Brooke was soon satisfied that, under the then reigning king, success was hopeless, as he had imbibed a strong prejudice against foreigners through the unjustifiable conduct of an English merchant, who had nearly ruined the prospects of our trade by an attempt to coerce the King into buying a steamer at four times its value. But what proved of importance was the confidential intercourse which took place with Chaufa Mungkut, the legal heir to the throne. This prince had retired to a monastery to avoid the persecution of the King, who was an illegitimate elder brother.

We readily gathered sufficient information as to the King’s ill-treatment of various British subjects to warrant our Government acting against him; but all our present advances were rejected. I may again repeat that had we arrived with a strong squadron, with ships which could have entered the river, and decided to proceed to Bangkok in a war vessel, there would have been little opposition to signing a treaty; but Sir James thought that not much would be gained by forcing a convention on the Siamese.

Satisfied that nothing could be done, Sir James sent to the Foreign Minister the value of all presents received, and we started for the mouth of the river in the state barges, and soon found ourselves on board the Sphynx on our way to Singapore. Our only success had been the discovery that Chaufa Mungkut was favourable to the English, that he was an educated prince, who could converse and correspond in our language, and that when he came to the throne he would be ready to negotiate.

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

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner