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has fallen into thier clutches, and has been true mortgagee of his rights. Such then are the made instrumental in performing several spe- mal-practices of the Mofussil people, and such cies of iniquity. All the venders and the are the machinations resorted to to defeat the distributors are well acquainted with the ends of justice. I know of a person who paid native character. Many of them there- not three months ago twenty-four rupees each fore write on the back, of some stamps cer- for two copies of stamps, (the duty of which tain dates of their fictitious sale's delivery, was only eight rupees each) of January before and their own names, and instead of disposing last, for drawing out deeds of mutual separa
of them according to those dates, reserve them for future occasions. When a person wishes to forge or get an agreement, a deed of mortgage, or a partition of an anterior date made, he immediately sends for old stamps from the venders, and pays them for their friendly and seasonable services double or treble the amount of duty leviable on them, and thus cheats and defrauds the persons whom it is his object to injure. To elucidate the subject a little more clearly, I shall give an example here. A mortgagee by virtue of a mortgaged deed forecloses the property of the mortgager, in default of the payment of this money, and puts it up for sale. If the mortgager be well versed in the buisness of swindling, he immediately gets an old stamp brought from the venders, and makes out a mortgage deed of the same property to a different individual, bearing a date prior to that of the lawful mortgageer. The pretended mortgagee then comes forward with the false instrument, and in consequence of his appearing the first mortgagee becomes entitled to the property, and thus deprives the
|tion and partition. The intentions of this person I need not specify here.
Now analize this Regulation, take it thick and thin and let us know what good it is capa
| |bie of producing. It is just like the Reguía.
tion about transit duties, working effects of the most mischievous kind, and calculated to degenerate the natives more and more so long as it unfurls its banner in this land of darkness. When we therefore consider that the stampregulation is an impediment to justice, harassing as it is in these hard times to suitors of every description, and connot but be prejudicial to the moral amelioration of our countrymen, and that our country is labouring under the privations of poverty, and in consequence of the failure of several mercantile firms, her spirit of commercial enterprize has been very much benumbed, we cannot refrain from raising an unanimous voice against it, and shall hail the day with pleasure when the happy tidings of the abolition of this detestable regulation rea
ches our ear.—Reformer.
SINGAPORE AND ITS AGRICULTURAL CAPABILITIES.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE SINGAPORE FREE PRESS AND MERCANTILE ADVERTISER.
If the soil and the climate are favorable to the sugar-cane, the same circumstances appear to be equally favorable to coffee and cotton. The first of this two plants is found to grow best at a considerable elevation above the level and somewhat removed from the immediate influence of the sea, and requires to be shaded from the meridian sun; —advantages which the new settler would have here, in the undulating and shady character of the country. There are to be seen in gardens a few specimens only, for it is not cultivated as an article of commerce. tempt to grow it to some extent was made some years since and failed, and from the situation of the place pointed out as the locality of the plantation it would seem, a worse one could not have been chosen, it being upon a bare hill, near to the sea shore and exposed to the direct influence of the hot and dry winds already spoken of. That a plant susceptible of being so easily affected by exposure to the sun, should have withered and died on such a spot cannot be a matter of wonder to any one who has any acquaintance
with the subject. And until the experiment of planting according to old rules shall have failed, the evidence of the few solitary plants which are planted and properly sheltered in various gardens, as has already been stated, and which yield abundantly, must lead to the inference that under similar circumstances, large plantations of it will give similar results. To the new settler no crop is perhaps better suited to meet the exigencies of the moment 'than cotton. Cotton may be planted and gathered from lands yet uncleared of the stumps remaining after the forest which covered them had disappeared : it will grow on rich or light soils, and whilst its planting affords a gradual means of preparing the ground for the plough and for other crops which may promise greater advantages to the planter, it yields him in the meanwhile, a quick and profitable return for his labor. In the course of a very few months after planting the pods are already in a fit state to be gathered, and a trifling expense of machinery enables him to prepare his cotton for market. As to its adaptation to the soil and climate of this island, reference must again be made to a few specimens of this plant of various kinds, viz: the Pernambuca and Manila, which the praise-worthy enterprise of some individuals residing here have imported and reared in their gardens. Samples of the Pernambuca have been returned from Liverpool where they had been sent to be valued, with the price of 13d. per Ib. affixed to them. These samples are by no means equal to the quality of the same species now produced under a more careful cultivation. The Manila seed yields a still more beautiful fibre; which for finenes and softness, can be compared to no other than to Sea Island. Unfortunately, the trials which have been made in planting this latter kind have not been so successful as the former, which grows luxuriantly and yields abundantly ; whilst the Manila seeds have hardly attained the height of twenty inches, and give here and there only a few pods. Whether this arises from bad seeds, unsuitable soil, or mate, are circumstances which will be determined by future experiments. Having pointed out sugar, coffe, and cotton as commodities likely to thrive well on this island, I now proceed to refer to other species of cultivation already established here. These are principally plantations of the finer spices, such as nutmeg, cloves and pepper. The two former are owned by Europeans who represent the profits to be amply remunerative of the outlay of capital. The nutmeg, by its congeniality to the soil grows luxuriantly and yields abundance of nuts which bear the highest market price. Plantations of cloves have been made also by Europeans, and when after gathering the first crops there seemed to be the best founded hopes of their long continuing to yield, they have had to witness the sudden decay of the trees as if struck by lightning or cut off at the root, and there scarcely remains, at this day, a healthy clove tree among the lately flourishing groves. The cause of this un
uncongeniality of cli
looked-for disappointment is not yet ascertained, but those may not be greatly mistaken who attribute it to the exposure of the hills, on which the plantations are made, to the sirocco-like wind already alluded to. Time will determine whether, when planted in more inland and sheltered situations, it will be liable to the same vicissitude. The quality of that produced was pronounced excellent. Pepper is raised here and to a very considerable amount, which competent dealers estimate at from eight to ten thousand piculs annually. The cultivation of this vine is almost entirely in the hands of the Chinese who, by hard work and great economy, make a living by it; but it is doubtful if at the present low price of this article, it can be successfully carried on by Europeans, on a large scale. Connected with most of pepper groud ns is a plantation of gambier, the leaves of which latter plant after having been boilded in water to extract the substance which afterwards by concentration becomes the astringent known here under the name of gambier, and terra japanica in Europe, are put to the roots of the pepper vines and make an excellent manure.
Around the settlement there are fields of paddy or rice, cultivated by people indigenous to the East, but on a very small scale, suslicient, however, to demonstrate the practicability of a greater extension of this commodity, as well as those which have already been named, should attention be turned hereafter to their more extended cultivation.
The suggestions which have been thrown out on the capabilities, &c. of this Island are as applicable to the three united settlements, viz: Penang, Mialacca and Singapore, and for a more comprehensive and valuable elucidation of the subject I would refer to the production of a much abler pen than that which traces these brief observations, and which, after having been recorded in the Penang Gazette, are about to be published collectively.
The next great point for consideration is, to inquire if the different branches of agriculture, which have been pointed at as suitable to the soil and climate of this Island, can be carried on with as much economy here as in other tropical countries. Effectually to develope this very important part of the subject, it would be necessary to have access to documents not attainable here ;-therefore an approximative comparison is all which can be hoped for under such circumstances, and as in the statement of the relative value of labour here, with that of slave-holding countries, all the facts relating to this Island will be found, it will be easy for any one who wishes to arrive at great exactness to compare them with such statements as may be had else
where ; for the general reader, the view here presented will be quite ample. The situation of this Island, off the south eastern projection of the Continent of Asia, having on one side the vast population of China, and on the other that of India—both countries within a few days' sail, is such, as to insure to it an ample working population, so long as by a removal hither a better support can be had than at home. And that they do benefit by migrating here, may be inferred by the numbers of them who annually resort here. Of these the Chinese are by far the most venturesome, for during the junk season hordes of them are cast upon these shores, some to remain, whilst others take shipping here and spread themselves among the Islands in the neighbourhood, or on the Malayan Peninsula. Both Indians and Chinese arriving here in a state of great destitution, many take to the jungle, perhaps rather from necessity than choice, finding it easier to obtain there that support, which in the settlement is not to be had ; and hence that large Chinese population hid in the jungle, the thievish and murderous inroads of whom in the night on the defenceless inhabitants of the skirts of the settlement, are but too frequently felt.
In point of fact, therefore, an abundance of working hands can never be wanting here so long as the means of supporting life may be easier had here than in India, or China. And it has already been said that this state of things still continues, as is evinced by the arrival here, each year, of one or two thousand Chinese. On the coming in of the junks a great number of them enter into engagements of voluntary serwitude for one year, with masters in want of servants, and for this specified time of service the passage money, generally from ten to twelve Spanish dollars, is paid to the captain of the junk ; the master further agrees with his serwant to pay him a sum usually fixed at five dollars, on the expiration of the year:--he further covenants to find him rice and fish
during this time—the expense of which is
of, a selection is made of the most efficient in en.
Let us now endeavour to see the cost of ordinary labor in countries where plantation work is still carried on, or was till very lately, performed by slaves. The price of each of these unfortunate persons, when first landed from Africa, is in the Brazils about two hundred dollars each ; in the West Indies from three to four hundred dollars: and this for miserable creatures, one-third of whom die in the process of being acclimated, which adds to the cost of those who survive. A creole slave bears a much higher price, but for the purpose here intended, let the average price of grownup slaves be put down at the lowest valuation of four hundred dollars each. Here then is a capital of 400 dollars, the simple interest on which at 6 per cent. is.............. drs 24.
about one and a quarter to one and a half. 9." nearly twenty-eight per cent, in favor of the Spanish dollar per month. Thus for about cost of labour here—and be it, observed that thirty-three doliars he obtains the services of no account is made of a much higher, rate of an able-bodied labourer, for twelve calendar into than that put downho; the late of inmonths. To such labourers who are free from terest being oftener.10 and 12 than 9 per cent. these engagements, and who may be had at in those countres; the maintenance of helpany time, and in almost any numbers, the or- less children and of the superannuated; deteridinary wages paid is from three to four dollars oration by accidents and old age of the slaves, per month. But in this case they find their and many other contingencies, which are but
food themselves, and at their own cost. Others may be hired for special purposes, requiring a longer or shorter time, at twelve and a half cents per day and not found in food. This class of labourers cons sts principally of Malays, who, not being inolined to works which require constant and steady application, let themselves out for such jobs as clearing lands, ditching, &c. &c. Mechanics receive six dollars and upwards per month, according to their craft and skill. The labourers of India, although not as hardy as the Chinese, demand and receive higher wages than these ; this arises probably from the circumstance of there being less competition among them. Many of theim have small gardens outside the settlement, where, beside raising vegetables they keep cows from which they supply the inhabitants with milk and butter. Others own and drive buffalo carts for public convenience. On large plantations they would be particularly useful in attending cattle and working the carts, for neither of which business the timid Chinese has much relish, preferring the quiet routine of planting, weeding and gathering. . It is seen then, that the cost of field labour is had here at from thirtythree, thirty-six and forty-eight dollars per annum, the average of which is thirty-nine dollars. It need not be said that these are picked men since it must be apparent to all
that inasmuch as there is plenty to choose out
too well known to the practised planter, all of which tend to enhance the cost of each slave.
Slavery having been abolished from all the British possessions, the former masters, in order to carry on the business of their properties, have entered into agreements with the apprentices to work at a specified price. In Barbadoes, containing the densest black (lately slave) population of any British West India colony, and where, from this circumstance, labor may be supposed to be cheapest, the price of field labor, limited to 8 and 10 hours per day, is fixed at 1s. 6d. which at 6s. 3d. per currency dollar is about 3 of a Sp. dollar. Whether the food and general maintenace of the apprentice is at his own charge, or at that of the employer, I have no means of ascertaining; but let us take the most favorable view of it and admit that twenty-four cents per day covers the master's whole expense, even this admission shews the price of labor to be in Barbadoes infinitely greater than here—more than double —and this without taking into account the parish establishments which the new system has introduced, the expense of which is levied on the estates and which naturally enters into the accounts as a fair charge against the apprentice.
It is scarcely necessary to dwell on a subject requiring so little investigation to make it per
fectly plain to the most common understanding.
Here there is abundance of hands to choose out of: greater or a smaller number may be employed for a longer or a shorter time, at the will of the master. He may dismiss them at pleasure at the end of his crop; he is relieved from the trouble of feeding and clothing them, and if in times of sickness or when by natural decay the helpless servant receives the attention and maintenance from the master, the act is one of voluntary charity and benefice. The servant's claim is a moral but not an obligatory one. In slave-holding coun
tries, not only is labor dearer, but you must use such only as is to be had ; such as has been paid for good or bad ; recourse must be had to punishments to compel the services of the refractory; the master must be at the pains of ascertaining whether the food and clothing dealt out are consumed and used, or whether they become articles for improper traffic—and finally he is denied the merit of his charities by the enactment of laws, to the inforcement of which is attributed those provisions for the needy which may be seen on his property.
The distant reader in whose hands the foregoing brief remarks may chance to fall, will naturally look for a statement of the land regulation for this island. He is doubtlessly aware of its being a possession of the East India Company's and under the Bengal Government. The Company grants leases for a determined period, but it never parts with the fee of the land. The following abstract of the Regulations is taken from the Singapore Chronicle of January 1833:—
“ Persons desirous of cleaning and cultivating waste and forest land, must make application to the superintendent of lands, stating the district and place where the land is situated ; also the description of land, and also its extent. After due survey the superintendent will report the application to the Chief Civil Authority, who, if no objection exists, will grant a permit to clear the land, which must be effected within such time as may be determined. The land being cleared, the holder of the permit shall be entitled to a lease, subject to the following limitations and provisions:—that the rate of rent shall not exceed one dollar, (Spanish) per acre, on the first lease given, fifteen years being the duration; that the lease so granted shall be, at its expiration exchanged for a second lease for a further term of fifteen years, at such rate as shall be determined on, not exceeding three dollars per acre:—that on the expiration of the second lease, a third for fifteen years shall be granted at a rate exceeding six dollars per acre:–and that at the expiration of the third lease, a fourth shall be granted at a rate not exceeding ten dollars per acre, per anIn urn.
“It shall be optional with the Government in the event of lease-holders refusing to accept a lease at, or under, the rates above specified, to eject the holder and resume the land with all buildings thereon. The rate of ten dollars per acre being declared to be the maximum of rent demandable for lands occupied for cultivation and beyond the limits of the town, or any other town which may be hereafter established, it shall be optional with holders to demand a permanent lease of 999 years at the rate of ten dollars per acre, per annum.”
As well might the island have been doomed to perpetual sterility as to have imposed such conditions, and it cannot be a matter of surprise that since the enactment of these regulations, not one single lease has been taken out. And indeed it is but too obvious that no man in his senses would incur the necessarily heavy expenses of clearing land of dense masses of trees, or drain it where required, having in the first place to pay a quit-rent of one dollar per acre during a period when he did not receive one pice of returns from it—and three dollars, for a second period—encreased to three, six, and finally to the ruinous rent of ten dollars, or one thousand dollars per hundred acres—and in default of payment to forfeit all his improvements. He would just begin to see his nutmegs and cloves in bearing when his quit rent was trebled from one to three dollars and failing to pay it, he must have to forfeit the fruits of his labour and sitteen years rent.
The benefit derived by landlords in giving out long leases and on moderate terms is now so well understood as to make it difficult to understand how in these enlightened days, so narrow a policy as the one prescribed has endured so long, and more especially when, as it is generally understood, the local Government of the place, sensible of the impolicy of the measure, has long since pointed out and recommended a more liberal course. That the Company would gain greatly by it is made evident by the fact, that whereas now a very trifling sum is received for rent of “land beyond the limits of the town,” the whole island, containing about 1,35,000 square acres, if under improvement, and the land leased out even on the most moderate terms, would yield a large annual amount. And that there would be plenty of enterprising capitalists and planters ready to take advantage of the favorale circumstances which it has been the aim of these observations and details to point out, and willing to pay liberally for land on long leases, cannot be doubted. Such favorable regulations would bring to these shores the energy and experience of men long accustomed to the improvements of modern colonial agriculture; who, apprehending no
thing short of ruin to themselves in remaining in the colonies under the system of free labor, would gladly remove here, where, secure from similar changes as those lately experienced, they would embark largely in planting sugar, coffee, spices and other tropical commodities. The island would soon cease to be a waste,
five hundred square-rigged vessels, and by one thousand four hundred native craft, all importing from, and all carrying commodities of various kinds in greater or lesser quantities, to every, civilized and uncivilized, part of the Globe. And why, when possessed of a superior climate;—why, when land, labor and food
or a receptacle for hordes of half civilized are cheaper; why, when sure of a good home Chinese, who by being brought to work in market; why, when the cost of production is large bodies under European masters, and less—the certainty of realising greater—the subjected to the discipline necessary and con- means of disposing more ample—why, with sequent thereto, would cease to be objects of such natural advantages and such resources, terror, as they now are, and would become may not this island be capable of yielding useful subjects. And need it be added that yearly, products of its own, to an amount prosuch a state of things would be of immense portionably as large as that of Barbadoes :
value to the trade of this settlement 2
Reference having often been made in the
This port is already an important mart for ,course of these remarks to the comparatively
Eastern products, and to the amount of its
exports which now are nearly all derived from
the countries adjacent, did the island produce
crops of its own, to add to these already large
almounts, it would become still more im
portant. Of the extent of such an addition,
derived from the soil of the place itself, some
idea may be formed from the returns of the
exports of the island of Barbadoes (an island containing about 1,06,000 square acres, or about three quarters of the surface of Singapore) as taken from the recent valuable work of Mr. Montgomery Martin, an access to which
the writer has but just had, and an earlier
reference to which would have been of great service to him. It appears from the * that in 1830 Barbadoes exported in aloes,
sugar and rum, to Great Britain, £6,24,734 sterling.—To British Colonies £1,36,842—to Foreign States £15,118—total £7,76,694—and employed 20,000 tons of British shipping. The imports during the same year, the last of which there are any returns, by 19,000 tons of British shipping £370,000. The amount of property created was £2,000,000—and of property moveable and immoveable $15,000,000. But a very considerable portion of these two last amounts doubtless represents property in slaves. And Barbadoes, although one of the healthiest of the West India Islands, is far from possessing so remarkably a healthful climate as that of this island, nor its commanding commercial situation on the only direct route connecting the two vast regions of the East —India and China—on the high way from the Straits of Sunda to the Gulph of Siam and the China Seas. Neither is Bridge Town the Capital of that fine island, visited yearly by upwards of
ABUSES AMONG THE
low prices of articles necessary and suitable to agricultural undertakings, the following current prices here are added in conclusion.
The expense incurred by Government for subjects from the incursions of robbers and the support of Police Thanas, is ulesess if they thieves, &c. &c.; but can they be said to act go on in their present deplorable manner. up to that object when thousands and thouThey are, we doubt not, established for the pur-|sands of robberis are daily commited in the very pose of securing the property and lives of the heart of the city Government profess to levy