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Lord John Hay to Lord C. Paget, dated “Odin," Penang,

10 January 1863.

My Lord, I have to request that you will be pleased to lay the accompanying correspondence before the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.

2. I have been unable to reduce its dimensions witliout sacrificing the clear understanding of the case.

3. Their Lordships will understand that the primary object that I have in view, while wishing entirely to avoid casting any blame upon any one in reference to the subjects treated of in these papers, is to draw their Lordships' attention to the inconvenience that may result from measures such as the bombardment of Tringanu being carried out without previous communication with the Commodore of the India Division, or the Commander-in-Chief in China.

4. The means of communication are now so rapid and so frequent that few cases can ever arise where previous communication with the Commodore or the Commander-in-Chief in China cannot take place.

5. The first that I heard of the case of Tringanu was by letter from Captain Corbett, who stated that he had just received a requisition from the Governor of Singapore to adopt coercive measures, if necessary, at Tringanu. I forth with went to Singapore, and heard that Tringanu had been bombarded, and the object of the expedition had not been quite attained.

6. I entirely approved of Captain Corbett’s conduct under the circumstances of the unequivocal nature of the requisition of the Governor of Singapore, and also of the humanity and judgment that he displayed during the operations. But I have, on full consideration of the circumstances, deemed it advisable to issue the instructions for the guidance of the senior officer in the Straits, a copy of which is herein appended.

7. On perusal of the accompanying papers their Lordships will observe that there were two distinct operations; one was the relief of the illegal blockade, supposed to exist at the mouth of the Quantong River, in the friendly territory of Pahang, where British property and lives were presumed to be in immediate danger, and the other operation was the bombardment of Tringanu, as a punishment to the Sultan of Tringanu for not complying with the Governor of Singapore’s directions, that he should remove his nephew and guest the ex-Sultan of Linga to the “Coquette,” which was ready to take the ex-Sultan to Bangkok, also I presume for his supposed complicity in the troubles of Pahang.

8. The first case appears to me to be one for immediate action by any naval officer, on due requisition being made him by competent authority, but the last instance seems to be a political question altogether, and one requiring such peculiar treatment as to make it very advisable that before offensive operations of the sort were undertaken by our ships, the instructions of the Commodore or Commander-in-Chief should be first received.

9. The measures adopted against Tringanu were taken on the responsibility of the Governor of Singapore, and although not quite successful, he seems pretty well satisfied with their result, but their Lordships will not fail to perceive, on the perusal of the accompanying papers, that the bombardment of Tringanu was much more, I will not say an act of revenge, but a punishment, than a measure of protection to British lives or property. The amount of British property involved was stated to be $4,000, and to be, as I understand, in the shape of advances made to people, not British subjects, employed in working in tin mines in the interior of the neighbouring State of Pahang. Pahang being supposed to owe its disturbed condition to covert assistance being given by the Sultan of Tringanu to Inchi Wan Ahmed, the brother of the reigning Bandaharah of Pahang, who was on his own account asserting his rights to the government of a portion of Pahang, under the authority of his late father's will.

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10. The protection to British interests, therefore, immediately afforded by the bombardment of Tringanu seems to have been of a doubtful and uncertain, indeed it may almost be said to have been of a negative, quality, as it is reported that claims will be sent in for damage done to British property by these very operations against Tringanu. I should not, however, think they could be maintained.

11. It is true that the near approach of the north-east monsoon made it necessary that the offensive operations should take place at once, if at all ; but nevertheless, the evidence afforded even in these papers shows that for many months past affairs in the Malayan Peninsula have been in an unsatisfactory position, and the probability of coercive measures being required might have, by those who entertained that view, been easily foreseen.

12. I do not in any way desire to complain of the Governor of Singapore in this case, as the invariable courtesy and attention shown by bim to naval officers, at all times, has been most marked ; and, moreover, it seems not to have been customary heretofore to keep the Commodore or senior officer in India always acquainted with what was going on.

13. Nor have I communicated to the Governor of Singapore my opinion on the foregoing subjects further than writing him the letter of the 31st December 1862, a copy of which is appended.

14. I bave thought it better that, as the duties of the navy are bringing them more closely and more frequently into contact with the high officials of the Indian Government, to draw their Lordships' attention to the subject, in order that the Commodore of the Indian Division might know whether I have taken the right view of the proper course to be pursued when such questions arise.

I have, &c. (signed) John Hay, Commodore.

Lord John Hay to Colonel Cavenagh, dated “Odin,” Singapore,

31 December 1862. Sir, As I am about to leave the eastern part of the Indian Division of the East India and China Station for a short period, I have the honour to suggest to your Excellency the advantage that the public service might gain if your Excellency would keep the Commodore on the Indian Station fully informed as to the state of affairs within the limits of your Excellency's sphere of operations or control.

I mean in reference to such matters as either at the time, or within a reasonable period, may be expected to demand employment of any part of the force under the Commodore's command.

2. I am also most desirous that in the event of any hostile operations being contemplated by your Excellency, where such are to be carried on by the aid of our men-of-war, you should give the Commodore commanding the Indian Division the very earliest possible information.

3. The advantage of this course will be obvious to your Excellency.

4. This will not of course interfere with the ordinary course of communication which you may have been in the habit of carrying on with the senior officer in the Straits.

I have, &c. (signed) John Hay, Commodore.

Lord John Hay to Commander J. H. Alexander, Her Majesty's ship “Coquette;”

dated “Odin,” Singapore, 31 December 1862. Sir, I ENCLOSE to you, for the information of the senior officer, a copy of a letter addressed this day to His Excellency the Governor of the Straits Settlements. You will observe that I am desirous that the Commodore in India should be better informed than he has been up to this time of the state of affairs existing in this part of the station, in so far as they relate to the probable interference or employment of our men-of-war.

2. You will, therefore, in future, in dealing with any requisitions from any British authority for interference on the part of our men-of-war in territories not under the protection of Great Britain, unless where the immediate object of such interference is the protection of lives of British subjects, or of British property, refer such requisition to the Commodore in India ; or, if requiring a more immediate reply than could be obtained from him, and it should appear that the Commander-in-Chief could give an answer at an earlier opportunity, then by reference, as well, to the Commander-in-Chief in China, acquainting the said British authority that you have done so, and are waiting instructions.

It is, of course, quite impossible to foresee everything that may occur, and therefore I am unwilling to say to you positively that the foregoing is never, under any circumstances, to be departed from. You are, however, to understand that you will not do right in deviating from the foregoing instructions excepting in cases of a peculiar and unusual nature.

3. The Commodore in India will be fully informed by His Excellency the Governor of the Straits Settlements, as well as by the senior officer, that measures, such as that of the bombardment of Tringanu, would require to have the previous sanction of the Commodore or Commander-in-Chief, the immediate necessity of the measure not having arisen out of the want of protection either of British property or of the lives of British subjects, and the possibility of a coercive course being required, having been easily, for a certain period at least, foreseen.

4. On the other hand, releasing British property and subjects from the restrictions from which they were supposed to suffer through the illegal blockade, stated to exist at the mouth of the Quantong River, was an operation which it would be right to carry out without any reference to the Commodore, and simply on the requisition of a competent British authority.

5. It is true that in the case of the Quantong River blockade, according to Captain Corbett's report, it appears very doubtful that anything of the sort had taken place; I, nevertheless, introduce the instance as an apt illustration of my meaning

I have, &c. (signed) John Hay, Commodore.


COPY of Papers connected with the ATTACK

upon TRINGANU, in November 1862.

(Sir John Hay.)

Ordered, by The House of Commons to be Printed,

28 July 1863.

[Price 1 s.]


Under 12 oz.

RETURN to an Address of the Honourable The House of Commons,

dated 13 March 1863 ;-for,

COPY of “

any further PAPERS relating to the SALE of WASTE LANDS or REDEMPTION of the LAND REVENUES in India, and any further CorRESPONDENCE with the Indian Government relating thereto in continuation of Parliamentary Paper, No. 327, of Session 1862).”

India Office, 2 7 April 1863.)


Secretary, Revenue Department.

(Mr. Henry Seymour.)

Ordered, by The House of Commons, to be Printed,

14 April 1863

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