Letter (WCP3074.3042)



5 November 1856

My dear Wallace

You will be pleased to hear something of Sarawak, and the changes occurring there. Crookshank2 returned bringing with him a pretty and lady like wife— Brooke3 and Charlie Grant4 have followed this good example and taken partners unto themselves— we expect them out about church next.

St John5 I am sorry to say has been removed to [2] Bruné [Brunei] — The government though yielding the question of jurisdiction and and [sic] "not wishing to deny the right of the people of Sarawak to assert their independence" would not acknowledge my position— The concession has however been of great service — & has rendered Sarawak particularly free & has restored me that peace of mind which I value more than these titles and honors.

St John however has been transported and I am sorry for it. The Borneo Company [3] [p. 7] limited6 goes ahead however, and I believe with a rational prospect of success.

Coulson7 advances with his work— the rails are out — and a steamer of size and speed, expected at about the end of this month— If they progress slowly and steady, feeling their way, and making allowances for the undeveloped state of the country, I have good hopes of them, but if they expect and endeavour to command success, by the bold expenditure of capital, they will fail. My apprehension arises from neglect of proper means of detail to the end— this is the stumbling block of civilized folk working blindfold in a rude country. [4] I came here for change and am deriving benefit from it, not that I was ill though lower than I ought to have been considering how much I have to keep me in a high state of spirits—

I learn from Padday8 with whom I am staying that you are now at Makassar after a sojourn at Bali— Before you leave this part of the world I hope to see you again at Sarawak which in its present stage of transition, may by that time present you with some new forms of animated existence — like our young ladies — as of ancient vegetable types, like myself— Have you read Baden Powell[']s9 essays? Three [5]10 [p. 8]11 in number viz. "Spirit of the Inductive Theology Philosophy", "Unity or Plurality of worlds" and "Philosophy of Creation"[.] They are really <p>hilosophical and convey how clergymen of the Church of England debate or apparently change in popular theology— accompanied as a matter of course with bigotry and interpretation— The author utterly abandons the entire Mosaic Cosmogony — he alludes to "prudent philosophers" as suppressing truth for fear of consequences — adopts your view of the transmutation of species — as well as the Nebular theory not as proved, but as reasonable and religious probabilities & in short takes large and [6] satisfying views of Nature and of Nature’s God— Remember this little book — and make note of as Cap<tai>n Cuttle12 says— it will interest you I am sure.

Charles alias Martin — alias Allen13 was miserable at the mission— the constraint was more than he could bear, which might have been foreseen had his previous life been considered before putting him into theological harness. He came to government employ though I had nothing for him to do, but I dare say he will get on in the employ of the Company who will work now acquainted with the language. The rest are all flourishing — I write you a desultory letter merely to let you know that you continue in my thoughts and

Believe me | [7]14 my dear Wallace | being sincerely yours | J Brooke [signature]

A Wallace Esq.

P.S. Lobb15 whom you have doubtless heard of is now in Sarawak[.]

Page 1 is numbered page 6 by the repository. Every second subsequent page has a consecutive handwritten number written in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
Crookshank, Arthur Chichester (1824-1891). A cousin of James Brooke and Acting Consul at Sarawak.
Brooke, Charles Anthoni Johnson ("Charley") (1829-1917). The Second White Rajah of Sarawak and nephew of James Brooke.
Grant, Charles Thomas Constantine (1831-1891). Second son of John Grant of Kilgraston and Lady Lucy Bruce (3rd daughter of the Earl of Elgin). James Brooke’s private secretary in Sarawak, 1848-63.
St John, Spenser Buckingham (1825-1910). British Consul General at Brunei, 1856-63 and envoy-extraordinary and minister-plenipotentiary to Mexico, 1884-93.
The Borneo Company Ltd. was founded in July 1856 by a group of Glasgow merchants and became closely associated with the Brookes who granted the enterprise special trading privileges. The Borneo Company based itself in Singapore and developed rapidly, eventually opening office in Bangkok and soon after establishing jute and sugar mills near Calcutta, India. (Jones, G. 2000 [2004]. Merchants to Multinationals: British Trading Companies in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.41).
Coulson, Robert (fl. 1850-1880). British mining engineer, active in Labuan, Borneo and Singapore, 1851-1876.
Padday, Reginald (fl. 1850). Clerk at Hamilton Gray and Co. from 1855.
Powell, B. 1855. Essays on the Spirit of the Inductive Philosophy, the Unity of Worlds, and the Philosophy of Creation. London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans.
A pencil annotation at the top of page adds 'Nov 5 — 1856 S[ir] James Brooke'.
A pencil annotation at the top right-hand corner of page 5 alters the page number from 5 to 8.
Captain Edward Cuttle is a character from Charles Dickens's Dombey and Son (1848).
Allen, Charles Martin (1839-1892). ARW's assistant in the Malay Archipelago.
The text from "my dear Wallace" to "now in Sarawak" is written vertically across page 1.
Lobb, Thomas (1820-1894) British plant collector.

Please cite as “WCP3074,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 29 February 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP3074