1824 Treaty of Friendship and Alliance



The Treaty of Friendship and Alliance was signed on 2 August 1824 between the East India Company (EIC), representing the British government, Sultan Husain Shah (also spelt Hussein Shah) and Temenggong Abdu’r Rahman, representing the Johor Sultanate.1 It replaced the 1819 Singapore Treaty which gave the EIC rights to set up a trading post in Singapore.2

The 1824 treaty was signed at Government Hill (now known as Fort Canning Park), where the second British Resident of Singapore, John Crawfurd, lived.3 The signing took place only after pressure was exerted on the Malay chiefs. Under the terms of the 1824 treaty, Singapore and its surrounding islands were ceded to the EIC.4 In exchange, the sultan and temenggong received a lump sum of money, had their allowances raised and were allowed to continue living on land set aside for them in Singapore.5

For signing the treaty, the sultan received 33,200 Spanish dollars and a monthly allowance of 1,300 Spanish dollars for life, while the temenggong received a monthly stipend of 700 Spanish dollars in addition to a lump sum of 26,800 Spanish dollars.The sultan and temenggong agreed to maintain free trade in their possessions and were forbidden to have any correspondence with foreigners without the EIC’s permission.7

Crawfurd also offered the Malay chiefs an inducement to leave Singapore. If they did so, the sultan would be paid 20,000 Spanish dollars and the temenggong, 15,000 Spanish dollars. Crawfurd encouraged them to leave Singapore so as to avoid political conflict arising from differences on how to rule over Singapore.8 The Malay chiefs also agreed to help the British in their efforts to suppress piracy.9

Reasons for the treaty
The treaty signed in 1819 between the Malay chiefs and the British only permitted the British to set up a trading post in Singapore.10 According to the terms, the British, sultan and temenggong had equal power.11 This sharing of power created problems for the British, with the key issue being the distribution of revenue. Crawfurd thought that the money allocated to the sultan and temenggong, relative to their contributions to Singapore’s growth from revenue farms and port dues, was disproportionate.12


Another potential source of wealth for the sultan and temenggong was from the traditional practice of the captains of vessels calling at Singapore sending gifts (hantar-hantaran) to them. Although a long-accepted practice in Asian trading ports, it was unacceptable to the British. The wealth that the sultan could have acquired from Singapore’s growing success as a trading port through this practice would have ensured the maintanence of his political power. The wealth would have allowed him to dispense patronage, attract followers and forge alliances that would have supported his position as sultan. This practice, which had been in existence since the kingdom of Srivijaya, was now disrupted by the British.13

Another practice that Raffles found particularly troubling on moral grounds was the Malay tolerance of slavery and debt-bondage. These differences reinforced the British desire to rule Singapore in accordance with British rules and principles – one of the reasons for the formation of the 1824 treaty.14

Gunboat pressure
Aware that the new treaty would remove all their claims to political authority and status in Singapore, the sultan and temenggong were reluctant to sign it.15 Crawfurd claimed that the June 1823 convention — initiated by Raffles, and stipulated that the temenggong’s allowance remained unchanged and the sultan’s increased, among other terms – had not been ratified by the Supreme Court, hence the higher allowances the Malay chiefs had been receiving were unauthorised and subsequently stopped. To provide further incentive to sign the new treaty, the Malay chiefs were told that their debts would be cancelled and that the allowances agreed upon in the June 1823 convention would be fully restored for life, in addition to receiving a lump sum of 20,000 Spanish dollars. While the terms were contested, after three months of not receiving their stipend, they conceded and gave their assent to the signing of the Treaty of Friendship and Alliance.16 Following instructions from the EIC headquarters in Calcutta, Crawfurd sailed around Singapore for 10 days on the 380-ton Malabar – a display of British control of Singapore.17 A 21-gun salute was fired on Pulau Ubin and two other islands to mark the British success in concluding the treaty.18

The signing of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of London on 17 March 1824 had created a clear separation of territorial interests in the waters around Singapore. The Dutch had agreed to give up all claims to Singapore in return for Dutch hegemony in the Indonesian islands. The Treaty of Friendship and Alliance placed Singapore firmly under the control of the British.19



References

1. Buckley, C. B. (1984). An anecdotal history of old times in Singapore, 1819–1867. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 168. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 BUC-[HIS])
2. Kwa, C. G., Heng, D., & Tan, T. Y. (2009). Singapore, a 700-year history: From early emporium to world city. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, p. 98. (Call no.: RSING 959.5703 KWA-[HIS])
3. Kwa, C. G., Heng, D., & Tan, T. Y. (2009). Singapore, a 700-year history: From early emporium to world city. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, p. 98. (Call no.: RSING 959.5703 KWA-[HIS])
4. Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 275. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS])
5. Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 275. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS])
6. Kwa, C. G., Heng, D., & Tan, T. Y. (2009). Singapore, a 700-year history: From early emporium to world city. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, p. 98. (Call no.: RSING 959.5703 KWA-[HIS])
7. Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 275. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS])
8. Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 275. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS])
9. Trocki, C. A. (2007). Prince of pirates: The temenggongs and the development of Johor and Singapore, 1784–1885. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 67. (Call no.: RSING 959.5103 TRO)
10. Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 39. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS])
11. Trocki, C. A. (2007). Prince of pirates: The temenggongs and the development of Johor and Singapore, 1784–1885. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 61. (Call no.: RSING 959.5103 TRO)
12. Kwa, C. G., Heng, D., & Tan, T. Y. (2009). Singapore, a 700-year history: From early emporium to world city. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, p. 98. (Call no.: RSING 959.5703 KWA-[HIS])
13. Kwa, C. G., Heng, D., & Tan, T. Y. (2009). Singapore, a 700-year history: From early emporium to world city. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, p. 94. (Call no.: RSING 959.5703 KWA-[HIS])
14. Kwa, C. G., Heng, D., & Tan, T. Y. (2009). Singapore, a 700-year history: From early emporium to world city. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, p. 95. (Call no.: RSING 959.5703 KWA-[HIS])
15. Trocki, C. A. (2007). Prince of pirates: The temenggongs and the development of Johor and Singapore, 1784–1885. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 67. (Call no.: RSING 959.5103 TRO)
16. Wake, C. H. (1975). Raffles and the rajas: The founding of Singapore in Malayan and British colonial history. Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 48(1), 65–70. Retrieved from JSTOR.
17. Kennard, A. (1969, February 6). 150 years ago today….The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Kennard, A. (1969, February 6). 150 years ago today….The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 47. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS])



Further resources
Abshire, J. E. (2011). The history of Singapore. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood.

(Call no.: RSING 959.57 ABS-[HIS])

An anecdotal history of old times in Singapore. (1886, August 28). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Chew, E. C. T. (1991). The foundation of a British settlement. In E. C. T. Chew & E. Lee (Eds.), A history of Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 36–40.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 HIS-[HIS])

Moore, D., & Moore, J. (1969). The first 150 years of Singapore. Singapore: Donald Moore Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 MOO-[HIS])

Moore, D. (1975). The magic dragon: The story of Singapore. St Albans, Herts.: Panther Books.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 MOO-[HIS])

Munshi, A. A. K. (1969). The hikayat Abdullah: The autobiography of Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir, 1797-1854 (A. H. Hill, Trans.). Singapore: Oxford University Printing Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.51032 ABD)

Pearson, H. F. (1956). A history of Singapore. London: University of London Press.
(Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 PEA-[RFL])

Turnbull, C. M. (1972). The Straits Settlements, 1826–67: Indian presidency to crown colony. London: Athlone Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR- [HIS])



The information in this article is valid as at 21 July 2015 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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