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Archive for July, 2012

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1848 – Paku

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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 – 1848 – Paku

During our stay on the districts of Paku, we lost some men from the over-confidence of the sons of the Orang Kaya Tumangong of Lundu, who advanced to clear the path by which we were to march on the town. They were stooping to pull out the ranjaus when the Seribas, headed by Lingire, sprang upon them, and cut down two, while the third son escaped, as a party of our Malays poured a volley into the enemy and killed several of them. However, we advanced next day and laid their country waste, our native contingent loading themselves with plunder. Having showed the pirates that no defences could prevent our punishing them, it was decided to carry out the original plan and attack those Sakarang and Seribas Dyaks who lived on the Kanowit, a branch of the great Rejang river, about a hundred miles from the mouth of the latter. These men were most feared by the inhabitants of the Sago districts, which were situated near the western entrances of the mighty stream.

Many of our native allies now left us, as they were loaded with plunder and were not provisioned for so long a voyage; so we proceeded with the Nemesis, the English boats, and our principal Malay war prahus, and as soon as we appeared on the Rejang fresh bodies of natives began to join us, eager to retaliate upon those who had so often attacked them and captured their trading vessels. The Rejang is a splendid river, destined some day to be an important highway of commerce, as its various branches open out a large extent of country, and it penetrates further into the great island of Borneo than any other stream on the north-west coast.

The Nemesis towed many of the boats up to the entrance of the Kanowit branch, and anchored there whilst the expedition pushed up to attack the great pirate chief Buah Ryah, who had established his quarters in the interior of this broad river. We advanced rapidly, and were within one day’s pull of his forts, while Captain Brooke, with the light division of fast-pulling boats had reconnoitred some miles ahead, and found that the pirates were beginning to show in great numbers, which made us feel assured that we should soon be in touch with the main body. We landed to inspect a large village house, which was surrounded by a cotton plantation, and found it well built, and full of baskets of the skulls of the unfortunates who had been surprised by these marauders. I counted three hundred heads in one village. We then fell down the river to join Sir James Brooke and the English force, in great spirits at the prospect of coming in contact with the enemy next day. We were therefore astonished to hear, on our arrival, that it had been decided to give up the object of our expedition and return.

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

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London Corn Exchange

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We discovered this interesting article on the history of the London Corn Exchange – its from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery.

Read other posts in the London series

London Corn Exchange

The business of a corn-broker is one of modern growth and doubtful utility. Formerly the farmers of Kent and Essex used to send their grain up the river, and attend a sort of market at Bear Quay; but, about the middle of the last century, when grain was cheap, the farmers often returned home without selling their grain. Those from Essex chiefly used the Bull Inn, Whitechapel; and the landlord, who was of  an enterprising spirit, proposed that the samples, with the prices, should be left with him, in order that he might try to dispose of the grain in their absence. This man, whose name was Johnson, and who was originally the “Boots” of the inn, soon got so much business in this way, that he opened an office at Bear Quay as a corn-factor, and amassed a fortune.

The business of corn-factors afterwards increased so much, that they erected a market in Mark Lane, which is called the Corn Exchange. The building, with which two coffee-houses are connected, is of the Boric order; and the quadrangle, where the samples of grain are exhibited, is capacious. The brokers at first wished to render the  Corn Exchange a private market; but on an application to parliament, it was thrown open. Auxiliary to this market is a much neater though smaller structure, called “The New Exchange for Corn and Seed.”

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

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Further reading and external links

London Corn Exchange on Wikipedia

 

Lloyd’s Coffee House

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We discovered this interesting article on the history of the Lloyd’s Coffee Houses – its from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery.

Read other posts in the London series

Lloyd’s Coffee House

It is difficult to decide whether Lloyd’s Coffee-House is more to be admired for its commercial importance, or for the many acts of benevolence with which its name and its subscribers are associated. This coffeehouse, which derives its name from the individual who first kept it, is over the northern piazza of the Royal Exchange; and though presenting none of those attractions which would allure the gentleman who loves “to take his ease at his inn,” is more frequented than all the other coffee-houses in London. It is indeed the centre of British commerce; the point where it concentrates, and whence it diverges over the globe. A bank post-bill does not obtain a readier currency than an article of intelligence from Lloyd’s, and to name this house as an authority is quite decisive  with every person who knows the means of information it possesses, and its accuracy.

Lloyd’s Coffee-House is the great mart for maritime insurance, and in order to obtain correct information it has agents in almost every port in Christendom, who are in regular communication with it, announcing every event that can in the most remote degree affect the political or commercial interests of the country. It was by these means, that during the late war government was often apprized of events, of which they had received no official intelligence, the arrival and sailing of vessels, a list of captures, accidents, and every thing relating to the shipping interests being regularly kept. One room in this coffee-house is appropriated to subscribers, who pay £25 on being admitted, and four guineas a year. No person, however, can be admitted without being recommended by six members, and approved by the committee of management.

The subscribers to Lloyd’s Coffee-House have been as much distinguished for their patriotic benevolence as for the extent of their commercial relations, and it was with this body that the PATRIOTIC FUND originated. This noble charity, the object of which was to provide relief for the widows and orphans of such as die in their country’s service, as well as to remunerate the wounded, was commenced on the 28th July [1803] with a donation of £20,000. three per cents, by the subscribers to Lloyd’s, independently of their contributions as individuals; and so liberally was their example seconded, that in the course of twelve years the fund amounted to £543,450 18s. 11d., out of which eighteen thousand persons had been relieved. Previous to the formation of the Patriotic fond, “Lloyd’s” had been the source and centre of many liberal subscriptions, particularly in [1794] and [1798]; in the former year upwards of £21,000 was raised tor the sufferers in Lord Howe’s victory, and in the latter £32,000 for the widows, orphans, etc. of the battle of the Nile.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

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Further reading and external links

Lloyds Coffee House on Wikipedia

Lloyds of London

The London Stock Exchange – Principal Stock

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We had a ‘dig’ around in our library on the history of the London Stock Exchange and discovered this interesting article which we will publish in several parts over the next few days – its from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery.

Read other posts in this series on the Stock Exchange

Read other posts in the London series

The London Stock Exchange – Principal Stock

In the Stock Exchange great pains are taken to exclude improper persons, and no one is allowed to transact business there unless admitted a member by ballot. Four days a week the commissioners for the redemption of the national debt attend to purchase stock.

The principal stock is the three per cent, consols, which amount to upwards of 365 millions. The  price of this stock has fluctuated in a singular manner during the last ninety years. In the month of July 1736, it was at 113; in February 1746, at 75; in 1752, at 106; and it continued at various prices, from 70 to 100, until the year 1778. The greatest and most sudden depression that the stocks ever experienced was in the early period of the French revolutionary war. In the month of March [1792] the three per cents, were at 96, and in 1797 they were as low as 48, which is the minimum. Although they had gradually declined every year from the commencement of the war, yet this great depression was owing to the Bank suspending its cash-payments.

As the funds are necessarily much affected by political events, individuals who possess prior or exclusive intelligence will at any time be enabled to speculate with great success. A broker, who, by means of an intelligent Frenchman, with whom he became casually acquainted, obtained the first information of the failure of Lord Macartney’s negotiation with the French Directory, made £16,000 while breakfasting at Batson’s coffee-house, and had he not been timid might have gained half a million; so great was the fluctuation owing to the intelligence being quite unexpected. As real events affect the funds, many efforts have been made to produce the same result by false rumours, and that with great success. The most memorable instance of this was on the 21st of Feb 1815, when a Mr. Random de Berenger, in concert with some stock-jobbing gentlemen, played a singular hoax on the Stock Exchange. Mr. De Berenger had gone to Dover, and personated a French officer just landed with despatches, announcing that in a late action Bonaparte had been killed. After writing to Admiral Foley at Deal, who would have telegraphed the Admiralty had not the foggy weather prevented it, De Berenger set off in a post-chaise to town, drove rapidly past the Royal Exchange spreading the news, which had such an effect that Omnium rose nearly five per cent. The trick was afterwards discovered, and Lord Cochrane, Mr. Butt, and De Berenger were indicted for a conspiracy. They were found guilty; when Lord Cochrane and Mr. Butt were sentenced to one year’s imprisonment, and to pay a fine of £1000 each. De Berenger and some others were sentenced to a year’s imprisonment, and the Hon. Cochrane Johnstone, who was also indicted, quitted the country. This severe example has not been without benefit, as it is the last great attempt at fabricating false news that has been made, though minor rumours are circulated daily.

A singular custom, worthy only of the cupidity and intolerance of a barbarous age, is connected with the Stock Exchange. The number of Jew brokers admitted is limited to twelve, and these only on condition of purchasing the privilege by a liberal gratuity to the lord mayor for the time being. During the mayoralty of Wilkes, one of the Jew brokers was taken seriously ill, and his lordship is said to have calculated pretty openly on the advantage he would derive from filling up the expected vacancy. The son of the broker meeting the lord mayor, reproached him with wishing his father’s death. “My dear fellow” said Wilkes, with that sarcastic humour which was peculiar to him, “you are completely in error, for I would rather all the Jew-brokers were dead? than your father.”

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

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Further reading and external links

The London Stock Exchange on Wikipedia

The London Stock Exchange Website

The London Stock Exchange – 1801

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We had a ‘dig’ around in our library on the history of the London Stock Exchange and discovered this interesting article which we will publish in several parts over the next few days – its from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery.

Read other posts in this series on the Stock Exchange

Read other posts in the London series

The London Stock Exchange – 1801

Of all the means of making a great fortune, there is none so rapid as by speculating in the public funds. Much has often been gained by bonefide purchases and sales of stock, but the speculation is not thus limited. Individuals who never had a shilling in the funds, or the means of purchasing £100 in the three per cents, will speculate in thousands. The risk is, however, small, and the danger still less, for as they are gambling transactions they are not recoverable in law. A jobber purchases or sells a certain quantity of stock to be received or delivered on such a day. When the time comes, he is not called on for any transfer; all that is required is that he shall pay or receive the difference in the price of that particular stock on the day fixed from that on which the bargain was made; if he has lost, and cannot or will not pay the deficiency, he becomes a defaulter, or, to use the jargon of the Stock Brokers, “is a lame duck,” and is not allowed to enter the Stock Exchange again.

By means of speculating in the funds, we have seen persons who began the world in a humble walk of life, amassing fortunes of nearly a million of money in a few years; and there is the instance of Mr. Rothschild, who a few years ago was a dealer in cloth at Manchester, and now deals in millions contracting for and supplying loans to all the powers of Europe. To the honour of this gentleman it must, however, be said, that although a member of that persecuted people, the Jews, he possesses a heart which does honour to human nature, and that to him every increase of wealth is but an additional means of doing good.

The amount of the national debt, which, during the long war with France, rendered new loans continually necessary, increased the business of the funds so much that the house in Change Alley, where it was transacted, became too limited, and in [1801] it was determined to build a more commodious house for the purpose. Capel-court, once the residence of Sir William Capel, lord mayor in 1504, was fixed upon as a convenient situation for the purpose.

The Stock Exchange, the first stone of which was laid on the 18th of May, [1801], was raised by subscription: the plate which has been placed in the first stone bears an inscription, which after ages may consider as a questionable proof of national prosperity, although evidently intended to record it. Of national good faith it is certainly an indisputable memorial. It states that the public funded debt was then upwards of five hundred millions. There is nothing in the building itself to excite particular attention, although it is conveniently and handsomely fitted up; but there is no place in the world where money transactions are carried on to such an extent, an assertion which will scarcely be doubted by those who consider the fluctuations which must occur in a funded property, which, on the 5th of January [1823], amounted to £796,530,144 15s 4d.

Although the number of persons, among whom this sum is subdivided, is varying almost every day, so as to render any calculation uncertain, yet, in a recent investigation, it was found that there were 283,958 persons who had shares of various amounts in the public funds; and that it requires upwards of twentysix millions yearly to pay the dividends. Of the various fundholders more than 90,000 receive a dividend not exceeding £10 a year; nearly 100,000 more a sum not exceeding £100 per annum; and there are 215 persons who receive an annual income of £4000 and upwards from the funds. This statement is exclusive of those persons who have deposited money in the savings’ banks, the number of which is immense.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

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Further reading and external links

The London Stock Exchange on Wikipedia

The London Stock Exchange Website

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1848 – Spy Boats

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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 – 1848 – Spy Boats

After two days’ waiting, our spy boats, at sunset on the 31st, brought intelligence of the approach of the pirate fleet. When they saw us at the mouth of the Kaluka, they gave an exultant shout and dashed away for home, but their hopes soon vanished as they were met by the Nemesis, the English boats, and the mass of our native fleet. Some turned to escape by the Kaluka, but were driven back and pursued by our light division. They now lost all hope of being able to get away in their heavy bangkongs; they therefore ran them on shore and escaped into the jungle.

In the morning the Rajah received a note from Farquhar to say that he had gone up the Seribas with the steamer to prevent any of the pirate boats escaping, but the few who had forced their way through the blockading squadron were already far beyond his reach. Our division then proceeded to the mouth of the Seribas. What a sight it was Seventy-five of their war boats were lying on the sands, eighteen had been sunk at sea, and twelve alone escaped up the river. Such a defeat had never before been known.

These war boats were very different from what have been described by certain critics. I measured one. It was eighty feet in length, nine in breadth, and its pulling crew must have consisted of at least seventy men. The pirates murdered all their girl captives, and, after shocking mutilations, cut off their heads and escaped. We soon had ample proof of the piracies committed by this fleet. Not only had they attacked villages on shore, but they had captured two large native vessels on their way to and from Singapore. It would have been easy to have destroyed the fugitive pirates by occupying a narrow isthmus over which they must pass, but Sir James Brooke, convinced that this great defeat would have full effect, called off his excited native followers to the attack of the interior strongholds.

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 – 1848 – Turning Point

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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 – 1848 – Turning Point

Leaving Sulu, we called in at Samboangan, and had a very agreeable time with the acquaintances we had previously made there. We saw how little the Spaniards had done to develop the immense island of Mindanau. Here and there on the coast were some small settlements, with cultivation extending but a few miles inland, but there was a great air of neatness about the places dotted along the coast.

On our return voyage we touched at Labuan, and then went on to Sarawak, where we found H.M.’s brig Albatross, Commander Farquhar, and the Royalist, Lieutenant-Commander Everest. The Nemesis proceeded on to Singapore, but soon rejoined us.

The expedition which was now organised was the largest that ever left the non-piratical districts for the punishment of the marauders. Besides the steamer Nemesis, we had the boats of the Albatross and Royalist, and about one hundred native prahus, manned by between three and four thousand men. I have in another work so fully described this expedition that I will not give a fresh account, but content myself with a summary of our proceedings. As a turning point in the history of the coast it will ever be remembered, not only as the greatest blow that was ever struck at Dyak piracy, and practically its destruction, but also because it led to the great misfortune that Sir James Brooke considered it necessary to retire from the public service, a step which was forced upon him by the weakness of Lord Aberdeen’s Government and the malice of his enemies.

On the 24th July [1849] the Nemesis started with the Royalist, the Ranee tender, and seven English boats in tow, and we followed in the evening with our powerful native contingent. The campaign, as planned by the authorities, was to proceed up the great river of Rejang, and attack the pirate communities from inland; but on our way to the mouth of that river we received information that ninety-eight Seribas war boats had pulled along the coast towards our point of rendezvous, the Rejang. It was instantly decided that on its return we should attempt to intercept this fleet, and our force was divided into two squadrons, one to guard the entrance of the Seribas, the other the mouth of the next river to the north, the Kaluka.

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