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Record number: WCP3793

Sent by:
James Brooke
Sent to:
Charles T. C. Grant
18 February 1855

Sent by James Brooke, Sarawak, Borneo Island, [Malaysia] to Charles T. C. Grant [none given] on 18 February 1855.

Record created:
03 February 2012 by Catchpole, Caroline


James Brooke is expecting Wallace to join a tour of western Sarawak which he is preparing (page 9) (he didn't). The rest of the letter relates to Grant (his family, past work and future plans as a government official) and Sarawak's political and domestic affairs.

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  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP3793.3707)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House
Finding number:
MSS. Pac. S. 90
Copyright owner:
ęBrooke Heritage Trust

Physical description

Transcription information





18th Feby 1855

My Dear Charlie1

I thank you for your kind letter of the 12th inst - I understand your feelings and they are so in accord with my own that I think you judge rightly - I am proud of you dear Charlie as my pupil and you know my friendship for you without [[2]] me expressing it - you are proud, and very justly, of your work at Lundu and without doubt your position there enables you to confer a great benefit on the people under your control That you should desire to enhance your work is quite right, and quite just, and so far as you are concerned, there can be [[3]] no objection whatever to your returning after you have paid your visit to Scotland. We need not anticipate the feelings of your parents on your their points, but we may be quite sure they will be reasonable, and in accordance with your reasonable wishes. There is however another view on the subjects and that is your own feelings [[4]] and views after you have been some time at home - you may find that the life which pleases you so much now, may under altered circumstances appear less attractive, and that other duties of equal importance may supersede those which now engage your attention. If desire therefore to keep you free from all engagements - judge and decide for [[5]] yourself after your return here, and believe me if your wishes lead you I shall come back to Sarawak, you shall ever be welcome to share good, as you have heretofore shared, evil fortune & the other side of your wishes as your duty incline you to remain in Scotland I shall postpone your ink reports, but with the consciousness that you are acting [[6]] rightly -

I need not revert to your loss but you will cherish your brother’s memory2, and do your best to supply his place - but the best life is but a troubled dream or a stormy conflict, and you have tasted its bitter portion early. And now I will say farewell for today.

[[7]] 19th You ask me whether I am well and happy - I answer - Yes! We passed a pleasant week at Santobong - riding and shooting five or six hours daily spite of the racy weather It did me a great deal of good mentally as well as bodily - and I can now say that I am more cheerful and more healthy than I have been for the last seven years - I am roaming about all day - take great pleasure in my fowls - stay in the jungle and carry my gun to kill venison – [one word illeg] especially - On Friday next I go to Seafar Cottage3 and on the following Thursday visit the Chinese [[8]] at Bow during their new year festivities - On the 1st March I shall launch the [one word illeg] and about the 15th get to Santobong where I shall pass a few days and where you may meet me - Afterwards I shall proceed to Satang and Sampradien island and look after the copper reported by the Sibyou Dyak named Si Nigi - son of Pa Niyanti if you have the guides - Then we will visit Lundu - the Waterfall - the Pangera’s place - Sematan - Sira - Poi - and the small river towards Datu - I do not think Brooke4 or St John5 will be of the party but Low6, who [[9]] is shortly to pay us a visit will most likely accompany me and very probably Wallace who is at present somewhere between Santobong and Matang but unable to get to Lundu with his Chinese [one word illeg] This will make a very pleasant trip of a fortnight or three weeks which we can prolong at pleasure - By that time the sea will be smooth and before it will not be pleasant for you to be knocking about in a small boat - heed however should you go out without me that you do not venture [[10]] in a very small boat and be careful about being well crewed and ready for flight as well as for frights. You shall know more about the exact time of my starting as it approaches - we have decided ( as nearly as we can decide without being acquainted with the views of the British government ) that Brooke shall go home in October next - It is no use procrastinating longer and it will be agreeable for you both to proceed in company - Make all [[11]] Re expenses I wrote you, closed

Re copper - I enclose a copy of Crookshank’s7 memo - on the subject - the discovery would be of immense importance and besides the place mentioned it was said formerly to have been found by a Sambas man in a small river between Sisu and Telok Surbau - and Jawa, the Javanese man brought specimens of some sorts per Satang - You might get some information on these points - We have invited St John’s brother Jacques8 to enter the service of Sarawak and it is possible that Fox9 [[12]] may do so likewise Besides this I have written to Templer10 to choose two young gentlemen likely to suit us who we can educate and who coming out young would acquire the language and habits of the people - There was an excellent account from Sakarran a few days since and everything progresses famously. The weather has stopped all the trade along the coast but the people are stirring - I regret to hear of the state of poor little Scrang - the OK’s11 son - - tell him how sorry I am but we shall all die soon and my religion teaches me that we shall meet again with those we love. Will not this [[13]] hope twin the old man to the Christian faith? Mr Dodd12 still missing - This is the 4. letter I have written in hope that you will receive together my kind regards to Gomes13 and

believe me | ever your aff[ab]le friend | J Brooke [signature]

[[14]] P.S. By the accounts you give of the O.K.’s son I should think the disease lay in the mesenteric glands and if this conjecture be correct after germination of the symptoms you might try the temples for [[15]] that fatal disorder


1. Charles T.C. Grant had left the Royal Navy, where he was a midshipman, to become James Brooke's private secretary in 1848.

2. Charles' elder brother, Francis Augustus Grant, had died in the Crimea on 1st October 1854. That made Charles heir to the family estate at Kilgraston (south of Perth, Scotland) and his parents asked for him to come home.

3. Seafar Cottage was James Brooke's retreat at Peninjau on Serembu mountain.

4. John Brooke Brooke, then heir to James Brooke

5. Spenser St John, James Brooke's secretary from 1848, then British Commissioner to the Independent Princes of Borneo from 1854, and Consul-General to Brunei from 1855

6. Hugh Low, government official in the British colony of Labuan

7. Arthur Crookshank, a Sarawwak government official

8. James Augustus St John had been in Labuan since 1851

9. Charles James Fox had arrived to work for the mission in 1851, but joined the Sarawak service in 1855

10. John C. Templer, James Brooke's friend in London

11. OK = Orang Kaya – Malay for head man or chief

12. In his more maudlin moments, James Brooke used Dodd(y) as a nickname for Charles Grant

13. William Henry Gomes was a missionary, normally at Lundu where Charles had been stationed. He married in Singapore in 1856

Please note that work on this transcript is not yet complete. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document, if available.