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Dutch objections to British Singapore, 1819–1824: Law, politics, commerce and a diplomatic misstep

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 June 2020


The year 1819 is almost universally taken as a seminal date in Singapore historiography. Yet Stamford Raffles’ founding of a British trading post there was controversial from the start. The Dutch and the British haggled as to whether or not Raffles had overstepped his authority, and whether the trading post was legal. From the start, the Dutch demanded that the British quit their occupation of Singapore. During a three-year hiatus in the Anglo–Dutch negotiations (1820–23), Anton Reinhard Falck, the lead Dutch negotiator, decided to drop claims to Singapore in favour of a rearrangement of possessions in the archipelago. Crucially, he concluded that dropping claims over Singapore would not amount to a real loss. Instead, Falck hoped to use Singapore as a bargaining chip to squeeze additional concessions from the British. The Dutch formally relinquished their claim over Singapore in article 12 of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty, which gave full recognition and legitimacy to the British post, and sanctioned a breakup of the Johor-Riau Empire with the Singapore Straits acting as a notional dividing line. Earlier studies were substantially based on English-language materials and present the British as dominating the negotiations. The present article, based on Dutch archival materials as well as studies and sources in French, Dutch and English, reveals a fuller story of diplomatic disputes, territorial concessions, errors of judgement, and the triggering of the Dutch empire in the archipelago, in a paper war for the contested space of Singapore.

Research Article
Copyright © The National University of Singapore, 2020

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The author wishes to thank Prof. Anthony Milner (Australia National University and University of Melbourne), Prof. Michael Barr (Flinders University), Kwa Chong Guan (RSIS, Nanyang Technological University) and Chang Yueh Siang (Yale-NUS) who scrutinised earlier drafts of this article.


1 For a bilingual Dutch–English reprint of the Anglo−Dutch Treaty, see C.M. Smulders, Geschiedenis en Verklaring van het Tractaat van 17 Maart 1824, doctoral dissertation (Utrecht: J.H. Siddré, 1856), pp. 61–71. [Hereafter SG]. Article 12 on Singapore is on p. 69.

2 A substantial portion of the relevant documentation emanating from the Dutch side was published during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Materials relating to the Anglo−Dutch negotiations (1818−24) are chiefly found in Dutch foreign ministry papers (Buitenlandse Zaken, 1813−70) preserved in the National Archives of the Netherlands, 2.05.01, nos. 711−14. Hereafter abbreviated as BUZA.

3 Bastin, John, Raffles and Hastings: Private exchanges behind the founding of Singapore (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish, 2015)Google Scholar; Malchow, Howard L., Gentlemen capitalists: The social and political world of the Victorian businessman (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, esp. pp. 53−109 [source hereafter abbreviated as GC]; Tarling, N., The Anglo-Dutch rivalry in the Malay World (Brisbane: Cambridge University Press, 1962)Google Scholar; Turnbull, C.M.: The Straits Settlements 1826−1867: Indian presidency to crown colony (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1972)Google Scholar; Turnbull, C.M.: A History of Singapore, 1819−1975 (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1977)Google Scholar; Wright, N., William Farquhar and Singapore: Stepping out of Raffles’ shadow (Penang: Entrepot, 2017)Google Scholar.

4 Vos, Reinhout, Gentle Janus, Merchant Prince: The VOC and the tightrope of diplomacy in the Malay World, 1740−1800 (Leiden: KITLV Press, 1993)Google Scholar; Marks, Harry, The first contest for Singapore (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1959). Helpful for understanding the colonial context of the early 19th century is D.W. van Welderen Rengers’ The failure of a liberal economic policy: Netherlands East Indies, 18161830 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1947)Google Scholar; and these works by van der Kemp, Pieter Hendrik: ‘De Singapoorsche Papieroorlog’, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indië (BKI) 49 (1898): 389ffGoogle Scholar. [Hereafter abbreviated as KSPO]; ‘De Stichting van Singapore, de Afstand ervan met Malakka door Nederland, en de Britsche aanspraken op den Linga-Riouw-Archipel’, BKI (1902): 313−476; Geschiedenis van het Londensch Tractaat van 17 Maart 1824 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1904); and separately also BKI 56 (1904): 1−244 [source hereafter abbreviated as GLT]; ‘Mr. C.T. Elout als Minister van Koloniën in zijne veroordeeling van het beleid der Regeering van het gouverneur-generaal baron Van der Capellen’, BKI 62, 1−2 (1909): 3−475; De Teruggave der Oost-Indische Koloniën, 1814−1816 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1910).

5 GC, p. 53.

6 For the text of the 1814 Convention, see V.d. Kemp, De Teruggave, app. 1, pp. 405−8; GLT, pp. 23−41; SG, pp. 15−20.

7 See Gedenkschriften van Anton Reinhard Falck, ed. H.T. Colenbrander, RGP Kleine Serie, vol. 13 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1913) [hereafter abbreviated as GF], p. 352, Fagel to Van Nagell, 29/7/1814. This letter was penned before the 1814 London Convention and discusses an earlier proposal (by Castlereagh) whereby ‘We [the British] will return to Holland all of its old colonies with the exception of the Cape of Good Hope’ and charge the Netherlands the sum of 6 million pounds sterling.’ Emphasis mine.

8 SG, p. 36.

9 GF, p. 354, Fagel to Van Nagell, 30/7/1814.

10 SG, pp. 10f, 48. Also G.W. Irwin, ‘Governor Couperus and the surrender of Malacca in 1795’, Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (JMBRAS) 37, 1 (1956): 86−133; C.R.G. Vlielander Hein-Couperus, De overgave van Malakka aan de Engelschen door den Gouverneur Abraham Couperus (Amsterdam: Bussy, 1915). This latter pamphlet importantly dismisses rumours that Melaka was surrendered to the British as a result of treason.

11 Dianne Lewis, ‘British policy in the Straits of Malacca to 1819 and the collapse of the traditional Malay state structure’, in Empires and imperialism in Southeast Asia, ed. B. Barrington (Clayton, Vic.: Monash Asia Institute, 1997), pp. 17−33, esp. pp. 18−19. Hereafter abbreviated as BP.

12 BP, p. 23, Turnbull, Straits Settlements, p. 162.

13 Raffles supposedly championed the cause of free trade, but the spirit of ‘free trade’ applied only to the British and the ‘native trade’, not to other European competitors. In fact, Raffles ideas on ‘free trade’ should never be taken separately from his brand of patriotism, ‘which seeks its own advantage in the misfortunes of its neighbours’ (GLT, p. 52n‘d’, citing Lord Farrar's Does trade follow the flag?). Seen in this way his free trade was not substantially different from art. 23 of the 1818 Dutch treaty with Johor-Riau.

14 Cited in F.W. Stapel: Geschiedenis van Nederlandsch-Indië, 5 vols. (Amsterdam: Uitgevermaat schappij Joost van den Vondel, 1940), vol. 5, p. 161. Hereafter SGNI.

15 The full Malay and Dutch texts are found in Surat-surat perdjandjian antara kesultanan Riau dengan pemerintahan-pemerintahan VOC dan Hindia-Belanda, 1784−1909 (Jakarta: Arsip Nasional Republik Indonesia, 1970). Dutch treaties with Riau, including a copy of the 1784 agreement, are found in the papers of the former Ministry of Colonies in the National Archives of the Netherlands [2.10.01], no. 2959. For a background to this treaty, see Dianne Lewis, Jan Compagnie in the Straits of Malacca, 1641−1795 (Athens: Ohio University Centre for International Studies, 1995) as well as Vos, Gentle Janus.

16 As news of Singapore's occupation by the British arrived in Europe, Falck, who was a Dutch emissary in London at the time, showed Lord Clancarty a copy of the 1784 treaty. Clancarty replied with the key term ‘obsolete’. See GF, p. 563; and SG, p. 38.

17 R.O. Winstedt, ‘History of Malaya’, JMBRAS 13, 1 (1935): 161.

18 E. Netscher, De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak (Batavia: Bruining & Wijt, 1870), pp. 240−2. Hereafter NJS.

19 KSPO, p. 450.

20 Report of Fagel and Elout 1/8/1820, in BUZA 713, fol. 129; also ‘Aantekeningen uit de Portfeuille met stukken over onderhandelingen met Engeland van 1816 tot 1824’ (18/10/1858), National Archives of the Netherlands, 2.10.01, no. 9191, fol. 5.

21 KSPO, p. 482.

22 KSPO, p. 510; also V.d. Capellen's letter of 16/12/1819, ibid., p. 506.

23 KSPO, p. 501.

24 See Wolterbeek and Timmerman-Thijssen to Farquhar 31/10/1818 in KSPO, pp. 448−9; also SG, p. 32.

25 The 1818 wording is identical to the one of 1784 stating that Johor, Pahang, Riau and all of the dependent islands comprise a single kingdom. Moreover, ‘Paduka Sri Sultan Mahmud and his aforementioned notables, acknowledge and declare for himself and his progeny to have received the said kingdom and town [of Riau] as a lawful and perpetual fief from the Dutch which shall remain in his possession and his legal heirs.’

26 Transcript of 26/11/1818 in NJS, pp. 254−7.

27 Additional background in Cornelis Theodorus Elout, Bijdragen tot de Geschiedenis der Onderhandelingen met Engeland betreffende de Overzeesche Bezittingen, 18201824 getrokken uit de nagelaten papieren (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1865), p. 55 [source hereafter abbreviated as BGO], pp. 45−6; SG, pp. 17−18.

28 SG, pp. 157−8, under point 4.

29 GF, p. 477, V.d. Capellen to Falck, 7/11/1818.

30 K.G. Tregonning, The British in Malaya: The first forty years, 1786−1826 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1965), pp. 148−9.

31 Cited in Charles E. Wurtzburg, Raffles of the Eastern Isles (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 451.

32 GF, p. 456, Elout to Falck, 25/8/1818.

33 The founding of the settlement at Semangka Bay in Lampong district was announced in the Prince of Wales Island Gazette on 29/9/1818. See SG, p. 35n1.

34 GF, p. 455, Elout to Falck, 7/10/1818; also GC, p. 72; Tregonning, The British, p. 147.

35 Vos, Gentle Janus, p. 204. Lewis, following David Basset, contended that efforts to acquire Bintan arose from a genuine commercial need. See BP, p. 21; D.K. Basset, ‘British trade and policy in Indonesia, 1760−1772’, BKI 120, 3 (1964): 197−223. Vos explains that the British had no need to establish a base in the Straits before c.1780, but the fall of Riau to the Dutch changed their needs. Vos, Gentle Janus, pp. 154−5, and esp. pp. 202−3. On Britain's unsuccessful attempt to acquire Riau, see Tarling, Anglo-Dutch rivalry, p. 40.

36 J. Bastin, ‘Raffles and British policy in the Indian Archipelago’, JMBRAS 27, 1 (1954): 99, 109.

37 Wurtzburg, Raffles, pp. 454, 473.

38 Turnbull, History of Singapore, p. 8.

39 J. Bastin, The founding of Singapore 1819 (Singapore: National Library of Singapore, 2012); Raffles to Hastings, 8/1/1819, p. 28.

40 SG, p. 33.

41 P. Borschberg, ed., Admiral Matelieff's Singapore and Johor (16061616) (Singapore: NUS Press, 2016); Borschberg, ‘The strategic location of Singapore in the longue durée (c.1290−1824): An alternative analytical framework’, in Singapore: The Future of a Legacy, ed. Hui Yew-Foong and Linda Y.C. Lim (Singapore: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, 2020).

42 GF, 548−9, H.W. Mutinghe to Elout, 23/1/1824 with reference to Couperus’ 1819 memorandum. A partial transcript thereof in Mutinghe's letter, ibid., pp. 553−4, esp. p. 553.

43 The first protest is dated 10/2/1819.

44 GF, p. 481.

45 Ibid., p. 481, on 19 Mar. 1819. V.d. Capellen spoke of the ‘thousands of means’ that Raffles had at his disposal to damage the Dutch. See ibid., letter of 22/2/1820, p. 493.

46 Ibid., p. 485, on 22/6/1819; also ibid., p. 486, on 6/8/1819.

47 GF, pp. 496−7n3, as reported by Van der Capellen to Falck on 18/4/1820; GC, p. 95. It would appear that Hastings, like Raffles and Charles Assey, had taken the position that Johor-Riau was a loose political entity in which the constituent parts were virtually independent of the political centre.

48 GF, p. 502, on 1/11/1821.

49 Ibid., p. 521, on 29/10/1823.

50 GF, pp. 516−7, on 28/6/1823, containing also Raffles’ letter to V.d. Capellen, 9/6/1823, and Crawfurd's note 8/6/1823.

51 See also SG, p. 50.

52 See letter by V.d. Capellen to Falck, 22/6/1819, regarding an article in The Times, reproduced by the Courier and other Dutch papers.

53 These developments have been documented by Howard Malchow and also Dianne Lewis, for further background reading.

54 GLT, pp. 73ff.

55 Ibid., p. 47n‘b’, quotation from Clancarty to Castlereagh, 20/8/1819. Elout, moreover, was not seen to be the most suitable co-negotiator (ibid., p. 51). This contradicts what Falck had raised in his letter to Van Nagell of 23/10/1819, recommending Elout as a suitable member of the negotiation team with a thorough knowledge of Southeast Asia. See A.R. Falck, Ambts-Brieven 1802−1842, ed. O.W. Hora Siccama (The Hague: W.P. van Stockum, 1878), p. 127.

56 GC, p. 86.

57 SG, p. 58; GLT, pp. 57−8, 68−72; GC, p. 95.

58 Problems had arisen over the return of Padang to the Dutch on account of certain dealings by Raffles who had acted ultra vires. See BGO, p. 111, memorandum of Lord Canning 22/7/1820, arts. 1 and 3: 1) ‘The British Government disavow the retention and confirm the retrocession to the Netherlands Government, of Padang, in the Island of Sumatra;’ 3) ‘The British Government disavow the Treaties for surrender of territory to the British Government, made without authority by the Lieut.-Governor of Bencoolen [Raffles] with the Chiefs of Manangcabon etc. Tiga-Blas in the said Island.’ See also ibid., p. 52.

59 See SG, pp. 40−1, for a summary of the Dutch negotiating points.

60 BUZA no. 713, fol. 59, royal instructions of 10/7/1820, under art. 8.

61 SG, pp. 39−40, features a summary of the British points, reprinted fully in English in annex A, pp. 157−60.

62 Ibid., pp. 158−9, under art. 12.

63 Also SG, p. 42.

64 GF, p. 455, Elout to Falck, 7/10/1818.

65 BUZA, 713, fols. 117, 130.

66 See also GF, p. 280.

67 Cited in KSPO, p. 433.

68 See SG, p. 38; also GLT, p. 44n‘f’.

69 BP, pp. 24−5.

70 GLT, p. 87; BUZA 713, fols. 169−73, summary of the British position 4/8/1820; fols. 177−80, summary (in French) by the Dutch negotiators, same date.

71 GF, p. 280, where Falck concedes that Castlereagh and Canning were consumed by domestic issues as well as political problems in Naples and Piedmont.

72 GC, pp. 98−9: ‘Indeed our best chance of retaining Singapore appears to me to be the protraction of the negotiation ….’ (p. 99, Canning to Williams-Wynn 5/2/1822). Netscher, De Nederlanders, p. 280, explains that during the negotiations of 1820, Britain wanted to retain Singapore whatever the cost.

73 The start of sales and perpetual and leasehold (erfpacht) of land in Singapore was also reported by V.d. Capellen to Falck 9/6/1823. See GF, p. 513; also V.d. Capellen on 6/5/1823, BUZA 713, fols. 310, 312, where the sale of land in Singapore is said to have violated Dutch rights over the island.

74 Letter by Lord Amhurst and John Fendall of 31/10/1823 in KSPO, pp. 446−7; Thavamani Devi Rajah, ‘John Crawfurd: Resident of Singapore, 1823−1826’ (Hons thesis, University of Malaya, Singapore, 1959), p. 35.

75 Carl-Alexander Gibson-Hill: ‘Johore Lama and other ancient sites on the Johor River’, JMBRAS 28, 2 (1955): 127; Rajah, ‘John Crawfurd’, p. 22.

76 C.D. Cowan, Early Penang and the rise of Singapore, 1805−1832: Documents from the manuscript records of the East India Company, selected and edited with an introduction (Singapore: Malaya Publishing House, 1950), p. 11.

77 Ibid., p. 11.

78 Cited in Wong Lin Ken, ‘The trade of Singapore, 1819−69’, JMBRAS 34, 4 (1960): 197−8; Tregonning, The British, p. 154.

79 Rajah, ‘John Crawfurd’, p. 30: ‘The principal sources of revenue in the Eastern Islands during Crawfurd's term of office were in an excise on the consumption of opium, spirituous liquor, betel-leaf, and fish and taxes on gaming and pawn-brokers shops.’

80 Wong, ‘The trade’, pp. 114−16.

81 Ibid., pp. 115, 160.

82 GC, pp. 96−7, Hastings to Bathurst 21/8/1821.

83 Charles Assey, On the trade with China and the Indian Archipelago, with observations on the insecurity of the British interests in that quarter, 2nd ed. (London: Printed for Rodwell and Martin, 1819).

84 Ibid., pp. 50−51; also GF, pp. 557−8. Emphasis mine. Winstedt explained in History of Malaya (p. 216), that Wolterbeek's treaty had been secured by the equivalent of Dutch gunboat diplomacy. But this contradicts the affidavit filed by Sultan Abdul Rachman and Raja Jafa'ar on 29 May 1819, which paints a different picture of how and why the Farquhar and Wolterbeek treaties had respectively materialised. See NJS, pp. 249−51.

85 Cited in Wurtzburg, Raffles, p. 504, ‘The Dutch possess no authority by virtue of the new Treaty concluded with the Raja Mooda even to exercise any power or to establish any settlement either at Pahang, Lingen or elsewhere and in short have no pretentions to derive even from the vizier to any other possessions than that at Rhio ….’

86 GC, pp. 97−8.

87 Based on the French text found in the letter of V.d. Capellen to the British governor-general 25/2/1819, reproduced in KSPO, p. 481.

88 GC, p. 94.

89 Ibid., pp. 86−8, 101.

90 GF, report of 31/7/1823, p. 559; on British public opinion, GC, pp. 100−101.

91 GF, p. 280.

92 Ibid., p. 279; also SGNI, p. 206.

93 GF, p. 506, V.d. Capellen to Falck, 3/10/1822.

94 GF, pp. 560−1; also summarised in SG, pp. 33−4.

95 Ibid., p. 560; BUZA 713, fols. 381, 392; emphasis mine.

96 Falck, Ambts-Brieven, p. 149.

97 Ibid., memorandum of Falck to V.d. Capellen, dat. Sep. or Oct. 1819, p. 562; V.d. Kemp, ‘De Stichting van Singapore’, pp. 448−9, Calcutta to London 12/3/1824. On the revision of the Dutch points of negotiation, see Falck, Ambts-Brieven, pp. 148−50; Marks, The first contest, pp. 164−5.

98 Marks, The first contest, p. 174n151; V.d. Kemp, ‘De Stichting van Singapore’, pp. 450−52; G. Irwin, Nineteenth century Borneo: A study in diplomatic rivalry (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1955), p. 61.

99 GLT, p. 127.

100 On this see GLT, p. 134; Fagel and Falck's report to the Dutch foreign ministry 16/12/1823 in BUZA714, fol. 106.

101 SG, p. 127. A related point by Canning is quoted in Netscher, De Nederlanders, p. 280.

102 GLT, pp. 134, 139; BUZA 714, fols. 106−7, and fol.156 for Falck and Fagel's letter to the foreign ministry, dat. 12 Jan. 1824.

103 SG, pp. 57−8, esp. p. 58. Regarding the offer, see ibid. pp. 127−8. This explains why the British were ‘not pressed as closely as expected about (their) title to Singapore’ (Irwin, Nineteenth century, p. 61 and Tregonning, The British, p. 163).

104 In his communication with Falck of 1/10/1819, V.d. Capellen appended a letter which advised the Dutch negotiators to abandon their interests along the western coast of Sumatra and focus on the east instead. It also advised a retreat from the Melaka Straits, including a surrender of Melaka to the British. GF, pp. 489−90.

105 GF, pp. 553−4 and p. 488. Similarly, V.d. Capellen to Falck 1/10/1819, ibid., p. 489, and 11/12/1819, p. 491.

106 Ibid., p. 290; GLT, p. 138; V.d. Kemp, ‘Mr. C.T. Elout als minister van Koloniën’, pp. 21, 115. Tregonning concedes (The British, p. 163) that the negotiations in 1823−4 involved ‘haggling about money’ but does not provide further details.

107 BGO, p. 191.

108 Concerning choice of words, see GLT, p. 184, and ibid., pp. 157−8. An outright swap of Billiton for Singapore, however, was rejected in the meeting of 29/7/1820 (cf. ibid., pp. 41−2.) It was decided that the surrender of Singapore would depend on details to be received from Calcutta. Dutch documents from the 1823−4 negotiations describe the territorial exchange in terms of an exchange of Melaka and Singapore for Bencoolen.

109 GLT, p. 184.

110 Ibid., pp. 171−2; BUZA 714, fols. 375−6.

111 SG, p. 53n1.

112 Ibid., p. 129. Otto Hora Siccama, who had accompanied Falck to the London negotiations, recalled how this line came about in a letter to Elout 26/10/1858 in BGO, pp. 311−12.

113 SG, p. 67. Emphasis mine.

114 Wording taken from the text ibid., p. 71, under art. 15.

115 Ibid., p. 139.

116 Ibid., p. 60.

117 A copy of this treaty has been republished in ibid., pp. 163−5, as annex C.

118 GLT, p. 237, letter from East India House, 4/8/1824, under point 7; the second part of the citation from SG, pp. 73−4.

119 GLT, p. 152. In the draft treaty of 5/2/1824, the article touching Singapore appears as article 14. See BUZA 714, fols. 299−300. Here it states that His Majesty of the Netherlands drops objections to ‘the occupation of the island of Singapore by the subjects of his Britannic Majesty’.

120 GF, p. 567.

121 C.F. Sirtema de Grovestius, ed., Notice et souvenirs biographiques du comte Van der Duyn de Maasdam et du baron de Capellen (Saint-Germain-en-Laye: H. Picault, 1852), p. 456.

122 On this point also SG, p. 35.

123 GF, p. 560, memorandum 31/7/1823.

124 Cited in V.d. Kemp, ‘De Stichting van Singapore’, p. 324; Wurtzburg, Raffles, p. 505.

125 Letter of 6/5/1822, BUZA 713 fol. 315−22, repeating his points made on 16/12/1819.

126 BUZA, 317, fol. 333.

127 Raffles’ intervention in the Johor-Riau succession dispute is briefly outlined by Raffles himself in a letter of 6/1/1820, under points 9−10, reproduced in KSPO, pp. 539−40.

128 See KSPO, Canning's letter of 26/7/1820, p. 433; Swettenham's British Malaya: An account of the origin and progress of British influence in Malaya (London: Allen & Unwin, 1948), pp. 67, 70, and 97; also Rajah, ‘John Crawfurd’, p. 25; Turnbull, History of Singapore, p. 9.

129 Straits Settlements Records of the East India Company, Letters to India, D6, Carimon Islands – Occupation 1818, pp. 144−5. See also instructions by Lord Clancarty, BGO, p. 50.

130 Turnbull, History of Singapore, p. 10; see also Falck to Elout 13/12/1819, in Elout, Bijdragen, pp. 62−3.

131 For Raffles’ intervention at Palembang in 1812 by which he also secured the cession of Bangka, see Jerry K.S. Lee, ‘Dutch and British colonial policies in the East Indies (1795−1824)’ (MA thesis, National University of Singapore, 2007). The thesis is accessible at

132 GF, p. 484, Bannerman to Timmerman-Thijssen 17/3/1819.

133 GF, p. 457.

134 GF, p. 279.

135 On these and similar considerations see SG, pp. 49−50.

136 Falck and Fagel, 12/1/1824, BUZA 714, fol. 157. Elout also observes that as a possession, Singapore is ‘van weinig belang’ (of little importance; 20/1/1820, BUZA 714, fol. 215).

137 Marks, The first contest, pp. 173−4.

138 Similarly, SG, pp. 33−4, concluded that the commercial value of Singapore had been exaggerated.

139 Marks, The first contest, p. 197.

140 Concerning the identity and earlier career of Christiaan van Angelbeek, see Schrikker, Alicia, Dutch and British colonial intervention in Sri Lanka, 1780–1815: Expansion and reform (Leiden: Brill, 2007), pp. 701CrossRefGoogle Scholar. A spin-off of his mission to Riau and Lingga is his Korte Schets van het Eiland van Lingga en dezelfs Bewoners (Short sketch of the Island of Lingga and of its inhabitants), published posthumously in 1826. For a summary of Van Angelbeek's 1825 mission to the Riau and Lingga courts, see Netscher, De Nederlanders, pp. 282–3.