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Papers of the Brookes of Sarawak kept in Rhodes House Library, Oxford (1). (Research Notes).


The Collection, which covers the years 1841-1971, is associated primarily with the following members of the Brooke family:

James Brooke, First Rajah (1803-68)

Charles Johnson Brooke, Second Rajah (1829-1917)

Charles Vyner Brooke, Third Rajah (1874-1963)

Bertram Brooke, Tuan Muda, brother of the Third Rajah (1876-1965)

Anthony (Peter) Brooke, Rajah Muda, son of Bertram Brooke (1912-)

The title Tuan Muda means an heir-presumptive; Rajah Muda signifies heir-apparent. Aheh, meaning "younger brother", was the name with which Bertram Brooke often signed his letters to the Rajah. Dayang is the courtesy title given to descendants of Rajahs or Chiefs--Anthony Brooke's sister, Lady Bryant, was known in Sarawak as the Dayang Anne.

The Collection has come to Rhodes House Library from several sources. The first and largest part was deposited by Lord Tanlaw, formerly Simon Mackay, grandson of the Third Rajah (Vols. 1-8 and Boxes 1-8). Boxes 9-11 contain papers deposited through Mrs. Margaret Noble, a close friend of the Brooke family who had lived for ten years in Sarawak where her husband, Arthur H. Noble, was General Manager of the Miri Oilfields; these papers belonged to two sisters of Anthony Brooke--Lady Halsey (Jean) and Lady Bryant (Anne), wife of Sir Arthur Bryant.

Mrs. Noble's own collection of Brooke papers forms the fourth part, in Box 12. The fifth consists of a file presented by Dame Margery Perham containing correspondence between herself and Anthony Brooke, who approached her in 1939 about events in Sarawak, and papers sent to her by him during the following ten years (Box 13). Box 14 holds printed material, including Hansard reports of Parliamentary debates on Sarawak and press cuttings.

A table of contents follows, showing the scope and arrangement of the whole collection. Certain restrictions have been placed on the use of the papers. Vols. 1-8 and Boxes 1-9A may be seen by readers but permission to quote from them in any published work must be obtained in writing from The Sarawak Foundation, c/o Lord Tanlaw, 62 Addison Road, London WJ4.

Permission for access to Boxes 10-12 must be obtained from Mrs. A.H. Noble, 1 Vale Court, Maida Vale, London W.9, from whom permission to quote must also be obtained. The remainder of the Collection is open.

Brooke manuscripts deposited previously in Rhodes House Library are as follows:
MSS Pac. s 66 1841-1960 Sir James Brooke: printed extracts
 of letters, 1841-48; Copies of
 letters from H. Wise to Palmerston
 and Russell, 1848-52; Instructions
 and letters to C. Ermen as
 Resident from C. Brooke, the Raja,
 1910-15; the Brooke tradition;
 Meeting between Chou En Lai and
 Anthony Brooke (c. 1959-60).
 Sir Charles Vyner Brooke:
MSS Ind. Ocn. s 119 1906-1930 Letters to George O. Gillam,
 Treasurer of Sarawak.
MSS Ind. Ocn. s 118 1922-1935 Letters to C.P. Lowe, mainly
 regarding the Public Works
 Department, Sarawak.
MSS Pac. s 74(1) 1924-1929 Personal letters to Frank
 Kortright, D.C., Sarawak, and
 his wife Ina.
MSS Pac. s 58 1940-1941 4 letters to Dr. M.P. O'Connor
 regarding medical and health
 matters in Sarawak.

Other collections in Rhodes House Library, including those of B. H. Elam and A.B. Ward, contain material associated with the Brooke family, as do the papers of T. Stirling Boyd, Chief Justice of Sarawak 1930-39, which are housed in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The Brooke library, collected from members of the family, has been presented to Magdalene College, Cambridge.
MSS Pac. s 83 Contents

Vols. 1-8 1847-1971 Lord Tanlaw's Collection and Boxes
Vol. 1 1847-1864 Letters from Sir James Brooke,
 First Rajah, to his sister and
 other members of his family.
Vol. 2 1868-1889 Letters to Charles Johnson Brooke
 (later second Rajah) from various
Vol. 3 1917-1918 Correspondence of the Sarawak State
 Advisory Council, Vol. VI.
Vol. 4 1918-1919 Correspondence of the Sarawak State
 Advisory Council, Vol. VI.
Vols. 5-8 n.d. Albums of photographs of Sarawak
 scenes and people, including
 members of the Brooke family.
Box 1 1860-1963 "Brooke Archives", including
 correspondence with the three
Box 2 1862-1956 "Sarawak State Papers", concerning
 the constitution and succession,
 the invasion of Sarawak by the
 Japanese in 1941, and the Wills of
 the first and third Rajahs.

Box 3 1903-1933 Notebooks and maps.
Box 4 1909-1969 Miscellaneous papers about Sarawak,
 including lists of official
Box 5 1946-1950 Libel suit: MacBryan v. Anthony
Box 6 1948-1950 Civil suit: Brooke v. Brooke.
Box 7 !912-1961 Draft of book by James Colin Swayne
 about the Raj of Sarawak.
Box 8 1971 "White Rajah, the story of
 Sarawak": tape recordings and
Box 9 and 9A 1841-1968 History of Sarawak: files from the
 collections of Lady Halsey, Lady
 Bryant and Mrs. Noble.
Box 10 1933-1962 Lady Halsey's Collection, mainly
 concerning the Cession and
 including correspondence of
 Anthony Brooke and Bertram Brooke.
Box 11 1938-1964 Lady Bryant's Collection, mainly
 concerning the Cession and
 including correspondence of
 Anthony Brooke, Bertram Brooke,
 Arthur Bryant and Malcolm
Box 12 1913-1966 Mrs Noble's Collection, concerned
 largely with the anti-Cession
Box 13 1939-1948 Dame Margery Perham's Collection,
 correspondence with Anthony Brooke
 and related papers.
Box 14 1913-1969 Printed Material, including Hansard
 reports of debates on Sarawak and
 press cuttings, mainly concerning
 the Cession.



Papers contributed by nine members or friends of the Brooke family combine to form the Collection. These papers, both official and personal, cover the whole span of Brooke rule, look back to the earlier history of Sarawak and to Thomas Brooke, father of the first Rajah, and forward to the present day (1 803-1977). But the greater part is concerned with the Cession of Sarawak to the British Crown by the third Rajah in 1946, the events that led up to it and the controversy it aroused, and the question of the succession which became a crucial issue during the final years of Brooke rule.

The first and largest section consists of papers of Anthony Brooke, Rajah Muda (heir-apparent) -- nephew of the third Rajah, Sir Charles Vyner Brooke -- and Lord Tanlaw, formerly Simon Mackay, the Rajah's grandson. It includes correspondence of Sir James and Sir Charles Brooke, the first and second Rajahs, correspondence of the Sarawak State Advisory Council in London from its formation in 1912 until 1919, Brooke Archives and State Papers concerning the Constitution and succession and the invasion by the Japanese in 1941, and papers relating to Brooke litigation during the years 1946-50. Other legal documents, official papers and correspondence, including files from the Sarawak Government Offices, Millbank, came from Mrs. Evelyn Hussey, the third Rajahs Executor, who was his Secretary in London from 1946 until his death in 1963.

Vols 35-39 hold papers, including much personal correspondence, that belonged to the third Rajah's nieces, Lady Halsey and Lady Bryant - daughters of his brother Bertram Brooke, the Tuan Muda (heir-presumptive). These two collections were deposited through Mrs. Margaret Noble, who became a close friend of the Brooke family during the ten years she spent in Sarawak where her husband, Arthur H. Noble, was General Manager of the Miri Oilfields; her own collection (Vols. 40 and 41) is concerned chiefly with the succession and the anti-Cession campaign in which she played an active part. She was responsible also for the deposit of papers connected with the Ranee Margaret, wife of the second Rajah, including letters from some of her wide and distinguished circle of friends in England (Vol. 16).

A correspondence covering ten years between Anthony Brooke and Dame Margery Perham, initiated by him in 1939, is contained in Vol. 42, with many related papers about the Sarawak situation including copies of letters to the Colonial Office and the press.

A small collection of papers that had belonged to the Ranee Sylvia, wife of the third Rajah, came from the Department of Archives in Barbados. Those that relate to Sarawak are bound in Vol. 17; the remainder, mostly associated with Barbados where the Ranee spent the last years of her life, are filed in Box 16. Vol. 17 holds also some personal letters from the third Rajah, 1936-63, and papers presented by Edward Banks who was Curator of the Sarawak Museum in Kuching from 1925-46.

Additional material was received from various sources after the listing of the first five deposits had been completed; and through the generosity of the Sarawak Foundation it became possible to bind in volumes papers previously filed in boxes. These additions and alterations are indicated in the Contents list. The whole Collection fills 42 volumes and 9 boxes.

The Brooke library, collected from members of the family, has been presented to Magdalene College, Cambridge, where the portrait of the third Rajah by Mrs. Noble (see Vol. 9A/1) is also housed.

Restrictions on the use of certain papers

Vols. 1-13, 25-34: Permission to quote from these papers in any published work must be obtained from the Sarawak Foundation, 14-16 Cockspur Street, London SWlY 5BL.

Vols 36-41: Permission for access to these papers must be obtained from Mrs. A.H. Noble, I Vale Court, London W9 lRT, from whom permission to quote must also be obtained.

Bertram Brooke's letters and other writings: copyright belongs to his daughter from whom permission to quote must be obtained: Lady Bryant, 46 High Point, Heath Road, Weybridge, Surrey, KTl3 8TP.

We are greatly indebted to Mrs. Noble for help and information generously given; also to Dr. Robert Reece, author of "The Cession of Sarawak to the British Crown in 1946", who through personal contacts made during the course of his researches was responsible for many additions to the Collection.
MSS Pac. s 83 Contents

Vols 1-13 and Boxes 1-8 1847-1971 Papers of Anthony Brooke, Rajah
(Vols 25-34) Muda, and Lord Tanlaw

Vol. 1 1847-1864 Letters from Sir James Brooke,
 first Rajah, to his sister Emma
 and other members of his family.
Vol.2 1868-1889 Letters to Charles Johnson Brooke
 (later second Rajah) from various
Vol. 3 1909-1919 Letters from Sir Charles Brooke to
 his children and granddaughter
Vol.4-9 1912-1919 Correspondence of the Sarawak
 State Advisory Council, Vols.
Vol. 10-13 n.d. Albums of photographs of Sarawak
 scenes and people including
 members of the Brooke family.

Note: The papers listed below were filed in Boxes 1-14 but were later bound (Vols 25-42) except for Boxes 3, 7, 8, 9A and 14. References in any published work should be given to the Box and File numbers marked on each paper.
Box 1 (Vol. 25) 1860-1963

Box 2 (Vols 26 & 27) 1862-1956

Box 3 1903-1933
Box 4 (Vols 28 & 29) 1909-1969

Box 5 (Vols 30-32) 1946-1950

Box 6 (Vols 33 & 34) 1948-1950
Box 7 1912-1961

Box 8 1971

Box 9 (Vol. 35) 1841-1968

Box 10 (Vol. 36) 1933-1962
File 1 1933-1962

File 2 1935-1939

File 3 1940-1948
File 4 1941-1946

File 5 1942-1963
File 6 1946-1957

Box 11 (Vol. 36) 1938-1964
File 1 1928-1964

File 2 1940-1963
File 3 1940-1948

File 4 1946-1949

File 5 1946-1949
File 6 1946-1949
File 7 1946-1948

File 8 1946-1948

Box 12 (Vols. 40 & 41) 1913-1946
File 1 1913-1975

File 2 1941-1962

File 3-9 1932-1966

Files 10-14 1935-1965

Files 15 & 16 1952-1956

Box 13 (Vol. 42) 1939-1962

Box 14 1913-1969

Vols 14-24 and Boxes 15-18 1803-1977

Vol. 14 1803-1977

Vol. 15 1835-1970

Vol. 16 (and Box 15) 1892-1969

Vol 17 1902-1970

Vols 18-22 (and Box 17) 1912-1967

Vols 23 & 24 (and Box 18) 1939-1951

Box 1 (Vol. 25) "Brooke Archives", including
 correspondence with the three
Box 2 (Vols 26 & 27) "Sarawak State Papers", concerning
 the constitution and succession,
 the invasion of Sarawak by the
 Japanese in 1941, and the Wills
 of the first and third Rajahs.
Box 3 Notebooks and maps.
Box 4 (Vols 28 & 29) Miscellaneous papers about
 Sarawak, including lists of
 official publications.
Box 5 (Vols 30-32) Libel suit: MacBryan v. Anthony
Box 6 (Vols 33 & 34) Civil suit: Brooke v. Brooke.
Box 7 Draft of book by James Colin
 Swayne about the Raj of Sarawak.
Box 8 "White Rajah, the story of
 Sarawak": tape recording and
Box 9 (Vol. 35) History of Sarawak: files from the
 collection of Lady Halsey, Lady
 Bryant and Mrs. Noble.
Box 10 (Vol. 36) Papers of Lady Halsey
File 1 General correspondence and related
File 2 Letters to her from her brother
 Anthony ("Peter") Brooke.
File 3 Anthony Brooke: correspondence.
File 4 Minutes and memoranda concerning
 the constitution and succession.
File 5 Bertram Brooke: correspondence.
File 6 Jean Halsey: correspondence
 relating to the anti-
 Cession campaign.
Box 11 (Vol. 36) Papers of Lady Bryant
File 1 Letters to her from various
File 2 Bertram Brooke: correspondence
File 3 Anthony Brooke: correspondence
 chiefly about Cession and the ban
 on his re-entry into Sarawak.
File 4 Sir Arthur Bryant: correspondence
 with Malcolm MacDonald and others;
 articles and memoranda by him
 about Sarawak.
File 5 F.F. Boult: correspondence.
File 6 Native protests.
File 7 Malcolm MacDonald: correspondence
 with Arthur Bryant.
File 8 Christopher Dawson: correspondence
 with the Malay National Union of
 Sarawak and other associations.
Box 12 (Vols. 40 & 41) Papers of Mrs. Noble
File 1 Letters and notes about the
File 2 Papers concerning the succession
 and the constitution.
File 3-9 Letters to her from members of the
 Brooke family and close friends,
 concerning anti-Cession activities
 and propaganda.
Files 10-14 Correspondence, including her own
 with Members of Parliament, and
 other writings by her connected
 with the anti-Cession campaign;
 native protests and post-Cession
Files 15 & 16 Photocopies of correspondence
 between Anthony Brooke and Johari
 Anang, M.N.U., and between Anthony
 Brooke and Robert Reece.
Box 13 (Vol. 42) Papers of Dame Margery Perham
 Correspondence with Anthony
 Brooke about the succession and
 Cession, and related papers.
Box 14 Printed material including Hansard
 reports of debates on Sarawak and
 press cuttings mainly concerning
 the Cession.
Vols 14-24 and Boxes 15-18 Additional Papers received from
 various sources including further
 papers from Lady Bryant and Mrs.
Vol. 14 Papers concerning three families
 connected with the first Rajah:
 Rev. Charles Johnson,
 Charles William Brooke and Reuben
 George Brooke.
Vol. 15 Copies of Wills and other
 documents; correspondence between
 J.C. Templer and Sir James Brooke;
 negotiations with Belgium; Brooke
 armorial bearings.
Vol. 16 (and Box 15) Letters to the Ranee Margaret, and
 corresponsence concerning them;
 obituary notices and photographs
 of her; 4 notebooks containing
 summaries and lists of letters.
Vol 17 A. Papers of Edward Banks, 1902-
 B. Papers of the Ranee Sylvia
 relating to Sarawak, 1904-1970.
 C. Letters from Rajah Vyner to Lady
 Halsey, 1936-63.
Vols 18-22 (and Box 17) Papers of Mrs. E.H. Hussey,
 including files from the Sarawak
 Government Offices, Milbank.
Vols 23 & 24 (and Box 18) 2 press cutting albums compiled by
 Lady Halsey, and box of loose

Report on Correspondence and Papers of the Brooke Family of Sarawak,
including papers of Charles T.C. Grant (1831-1891) Laird of Kilgraston.



The papers in this supplementary collection reached Rhodes House Library from three separate sources. Those filled in Boxes 19-26 were retrieved from an empty house in Weybridge which had once been the home of the late Mrs. Elizabeth Maunsell, sister of Anthony Brooke, Rajah Muda, to whom the papers belonged. The story of their discovery is told by James Tolson, RIBA (Box 19, File 1A), and we are greatly indebted to him for his care in their preservation. As the papers had been scattered before Mr. Tolson rescued them, it was not possible to restore the order in which they were originally filed. The present arrangement is show in the table of contents that follows.

Boxes 27-29 contain papers that were in the possession of Mrs. Margaret Noble when she died in 1978. She had previously deposited material which forms part of the main Brooke collection. The present papers are chiefly associated with her researches into the history of the Brooke family but include also personal letters from Bertram Brooke, Tuan Muda, to his children and to Mrs. Noble, and from his daughters Jean (Lady Halsey) and Anne (Lady Bryant).

Eight albums, containing chiefly press cuttings, were donated by Mrs. Kathleen Brooke, former Ranee Muda. Four of these (in Box 32) give comprehensive coverage of the Cession period; they were compiled by her and include many cuttings sent from Singapore by her husband. The earlier volumes (in Boxes 30 and 31) were compiled by Mrs. Gladys Brooke, wife of the Tuan Muda.

The collection covers the years 1915-76, with a few papers of earlier dates. Permission to quote from these papers in a published work must be obtained from the Librarian, Rhodes House, Oxford. Lady Bryant has also delegated to him the right to give permission for quotation from the writings of her father Bertram Brooke, of which she owns the copyright, and for photocopying from these papers for private research.
Boxes 19-26 Additional papers of Anthony Brooke

Box 19 1978
 File lA Statement by James Tolson, RIBA,
 about the discovery of the papers.
 1939-1951 Personal correspondence with the
 File 1-7 Anthony Brooke, Rajah Muda
 File 8 Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, Rajah
 File 9 Bertram Brooke, Tuan Muda
 File 10 Mrs. Gladys Brooke, Dayang Muda
Box 20 1936-1955 Subject Files
 File 1 G.T.M. MacBryan (1936-50).
 File 2 Enquiry concerning F.L.G. Crossley
 File 3 Abolition of title of Rajah Muda
 File 4 Libel action, Anthony Brooke v.
 K.H. Digby (1946-51).
 File 5 Ban on Anthony Brooke's entry into
 Sarawak (1948-50).
 File 6 Mrs. Kathleen Brooke's visit to
 Sarawak (1947).
 File 7 Rajah's Dependants Order, Income
 Tax appeal, etc. (1948-56).
 File 8 Brooke family Wills and Estates (
Box 21 1944-51 Sarawak Commission (Provisional
 Government of Sarawak) and the
 Cession controversy.
Box 22 1945-1959 Anti-Cession campaign.
Box 23 1841-1956 Historical papers relating to the
 Constitution of Sarawak and the
 succession of the Raj.
Box 24 1901-1956 Printed material and memoranda
 relating to Borneo, Malaya, and
Box 25 1941-1963 Papers connected with Anthony
 Brooke's world travels and work
 for the promotion of international
 understanding and peace.
Box 26 1936-1960 Press cuttings.
Boxes 27-29 Additional papers of Mrs. Margaret
Box 27 1880-1968 Papers connected with the Ranee
 Margaret (File 1) and with her son
 Bertram Brooke; and family
 photographs, 1864-1970.
Box 28 (c. 1880) 1915- Family letters of Bertram Brooke
 and his children; also
 correspondence with Mrs. Noble and
 her husband.
Box 29 1837-1976 Papers connected with Mrs. Noble's
 research into Brooke family
Box 30-33 1925-1949 Albums donated by Mrs. Kathleen
 Brooke containing chiefly press
 cuttings, and a roll of posters.



Kathleen Mary Hudden was born in 1907, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William E.G. Hudden of Newport, Monmouthshire. In 1939 she married Anthony Brooke, Rajah Muda of Sarawak, whose uncle, Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, GCMG, was then third Rajah. The following year she accompanied her husband to Sarawak where he was serving as District Officer. They lived at various out-stations until disagreement between nephew and uncle over a proposed constitution for the state necessitated a hazardous return to London via Athens in 1941. One casualty of the subsequent Japanese invasion of Sarawak was her brother Donald Hudden, District Officer of the Baram area, who was killed by Dayaks in Dutch Borneo (see Box 34/9, ff 137-9).

After the Rajah's decision to cede Sarawak to the British Crown in February 1946, Mrs. Brooke played an important part in the campaign fought by her husband and loyalist Malays and Dayaks to restore Sarawak's independent position as a protected state with internal sovereignty. When the new colonial government of Sarawak refused Anthony Brooke permission to enter the state in November of that year, she made an extended visit in his place. For more than six months she traveled throughout Sarawak, sometimes by canoe, sometimes on foot, welcomed with enthusiastic receptions by Brooke supporters. Such was her determination and fortitude in the face of extreme physical discomfort and the uncooperative attitude of certain Government officials that Sir Charles Arden-Clarke, the Governor, himself paid tribute to her "courage, energy and pertinacity".

During the last years of her life, Mrs. Brooke planned to write an account of these events for her three children, and the papers contained in Box 34 are those she had selected with this object in view. Her reasons for attempting such a memoir are referred to in File 12, ff 47-9, and File 13, f 4. The papers consist of the diary of her travels in Sarawak in 1947-48, supplemented by correspondence with her husband in Singapore during those months; also further letters from him and members of his family, and from correspondents in both England and Sarawak, concerned with the anti-Cession campaign as well as family matters. Her own letters to her husband were returned to her in 1978 (see File 13, ff 7 & 8) after being found among papers retrieved from an empty house in Weybridge, once the home of his sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Maunsell (Boxes 19-26).

Box 35 contains additional letters from Anthony Brooke written during his wartime service with the Intelligence Corps in Southeast Asia and in later years during his worldwide travels in the cause of peace and international understanding (see also Box 25). Photographs taken during her tour in Sarawak and other related items are contained in Box 36.

It was Mrs. Brooke's intention eventually to donate these papers to Rhodes House Library where she had previously deposited eight volumes of press cuttings including those sent from Singapore by her husband (Boxes 30-32). After her death in London on 24 April 1981, the papers were deposited by her elder daughter, Mrs. Angela KerrMoller.



Much has been written and published about Sir James Brooke who in 1841 became the first white Rajah of Sarawak: of his nephew John Brooke Brooke, for nearly twenty years his appointed successor and heir to the Raj, little has been told. Through these papers can be traced the changing relationship between the two men, and the development of events that culminated in Sir James's disinheritance of his nephew and the installation in his place of his brother Charles. (Both nephews, sons of Sir James's sister Emma Johnson, assumed the surname of Brooke, the elder in 1848, Charles in 1863.) The papers were assembled by Charles T.C. Grant, son of John Grant, Laird of Kilgraston in Perthshire. Charles Grant served sixteen years in Sarawak with Brooke Brooke and remained till the end of his life a devoted and loyal friend. The Collection was made, during the years following Brooke Brooke's death in 1868, with the object of vindicating his name and also for the sake of his surviving son, Hope -- to show that as rightful heir to the Raj "some recognition surely should be made" (Box 1/7, f. 169).

How so various a collection of letters came into Grant's hands can only be conjectured. He had been a well-loved member of the Sarawak Service and old friends continued to write to him long after his retirement in 1863; but this accounts for a small proportion only of the letters. It is possible that Sir James Brooke's literary executor, Sir Spenser St John, to whom he bequeathed papers, may have handed over to Grant some of the Rajah's correspondence after publication in 1879 of St John's Life of Sir James Brooke which Grant included, possibly because others were among the Rajah's papers that were burnt in the Chinese insurrection of 1857. Undoubtedly the Johnson family contributed much correspondence, to be held in trust for Hope Brooke. But it is difficult to account for the presence of letters to Charles Brooke (see Vols. 1 and 11), or for the provenance of much of the correspondence in Vols. 13-16.

The whole Collection was given by Charles Grant's son, Colonel Patrick Grant, to his cousin Hope Brooke, and in 1975 was most generously presented by Hope Brooke's eldest son, Vice Admiral Basil C.B. Brooke, CB, CBE, to Rhodes House Library, Oxford. It consists mainly of letters written between the years 1833 and 1875, with a few of later dates; these have been bound in sixteen volumes. Related papers, 1830-1977, are filed in boxes numbered 1-5. Some additional letters, 1856-1974, were deposited after the binding of the correspondence had been completed, and these have been filed in Box 3/12. The list of contents that follows this introductory note shows in some detail the scope and arrangement of the papers.

James Brooke was born near Benares, in 1803; his father, Thomas Brooke, was a Judge in the Honorable East India Company's Civil Service. James was one of six children. His sister Emma, a year older than himself, was particularly close in his affections, and her childrens' lives became woven into the pattern of his own. He never married.

He entered the Company's army in 1819 and was severely wounded during the first Burmese war; he was invalided home in 1825. It was on his return to Bengal in 1830 in the East Indiaman Castle Huntley that he first met John Keith Jolly, one of the ship's officers. Jolly later became Captain of the vessel, and the two men maintained their friendship by correspondence for over twenty years (see Vol. 1). Having resigned his commission, Brooke sailed on in the Castle Huntley, visiting China, Penang, Malacca and Singapore before returning to England. These travels fired his imagination and his ambition. He made a second voyage to the East in 1834 in a brig, the Findlay, which in partnership with another he had purchased and freighted for China; but this venture proved a failure, and brig and cargo were sold in China at a loss. Brooke's early letters to Jolly describe his activities between 1833 and 1838.

In 1835 his father died, leaving him a legacy of 30,000 pounds. This brought within reach the realization of his dream to explore the islands of the Eastern Archipelago. He purchased the schooner Royalist, and after a preliminary cruise in the Mediterranean (his eldest nephew was one of the party) sailed in December 1838 for Borneo, with plans for the promotion of trade as well as British ascendancy. Singapore was reached the following May, and there Brooke was asked by the Governor to convey thanks and gifts to Rajah Muda Hassim, governor of Sarawak (then a province under the rule of the Sultan of Brunei), who had shown kindness to shipwrecked British seamen. This service was accomplished and a friendly relationship established. After a year spent in exploring the Archipelago, he paid a second visit to Sarawak, where he gave valuable advice and active assistance in subduing insurrection. Hassim begged him to stay, offering him the government and trade of Sarawak, to beheld under the sovereignty of Brunei in return for a small annual payment to the Sultan. On 24 September 1841 James Brooke was proclaimed Rajah.

For the first years of Brooke rule the Collection contains no documentation. Two letters from the Rajah to Brooke Brooke are dated 1845; in October 1846 his correspondence with Charles Grant began (Vol. 4). Grant was then a midshipman in HMS Agincourt, the flagship in which the Rajah accompanied Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane from Sarawak to Brunei. Verses by the Rajah addressed to "My midshipmen friends in HMS Agincourt" are filed in Box 1/1. Grant became a favorite of the Rajah who took an interest in his career; they met again in England during 1847. Grant was appointed to HMS Meander, the ship that carried the Rajah back to Sarawak in 1848 after his triumphs in England where he had been acclaimed by the nation and knighted by the Queen. He appointed Grant his aide-de-camp, and wrote to the boy's father in Scotland proposing that he should leave the Navy and make his career in Sarawak (Vol. 4, ff. 306-19). He became the Rajah's private secretary, and a valued member of the Government Service.

It was a remarkable group of young men whom Sir James gathered round him at that time -- men who embraced a life of considerable hardship, loneliness and danger, and gave devoted service to the Rajah and his adopted country. In addition to a common allegiance and mutual dependence in an alien land, they shared the bond of similar background and upbringing. It was chiefly from the families of Brooke, Johnson and Grant that these men were drawn: brothers, sons and cousins were introduced into the Rajah's service and came under the influence of his strong personality. Inter-marriage strengthened ties of family and friendship. Brooke Brooke married Charles Grant's sister; Grant's wife brought her brother Robert Hay, who became Brooke's good friend and supporter; not only Brooke's brother Charles joined him in the Service but later his younger brother Stuart, and his sister Mary's brother-in-law Harry Nicholetts. The Pedigree of these families made by Mrs. Margaret Noble for the Society of Genealogists (Box 3/11) is an invaluable guide through the complexity of names and relationships.

Letters from the wives (Annie Brooke, Matilda Grant and Harriette McDougall, wife of the Bishop of Labuan and Sarawak) give spirited, factual and sometimes painfully moving accounts of their lives and the homes they created with resourcefulness and courage. They were supported by the strong Christian faith in which they had grown up. England was three month's voyage away, travel was costly, mails unreliable. They were dependent entirely upon each other for company, comfort, and help. Medical aid was supplied by Bishop McDougall, a qualified doctor; but unfamiliar tropical diseases and the deaths of children and of mothers in childbirth are tragically recurrent themes in letters and journals. An interesting account of the Rajah's "family circle" and their way of life is given by Captain Cresswell (who had served with Charles Grant in the Agincourt) in a letter to his mother following a visit to Sarawak in 1858 (Vol. 13, f 128).

The correspondence presents a comprehensive picture of the writers' lives and preoccupations. As well as the constant concern with personal and family matters, every aspect of Sarawak affairs is discussed, often from divergent viewpoints, and there are first-hand accounts of many historic events such as the insurrection of the Chinese gold-workers in 1857 when the Rajah narrowly escaped with his life. Problems of administration and local politics recur, the exploration and development of the country, particularly its mineral resources, and relations with the Borneo Company; the suppression of piracy, and the Commission of Enquiry appointed by the British Government to examine the accusations brought against the Rajah by Joseph Hume, MP; the Testimonial raised on behalf of the Rajah; the "Muka incident" in 1860; the conduct of the Borneo Mission; and the prolonged negotiations to obtain recognition and protection for Sarawak. John Grant's letters to his son Charles (Vol. 12) help to place these matters in the perspective of world events, and perhaps give point to the apparent indifference shown by the British Government to the Rajah's approaches.

All through the Collection passages marked principally by Charles Grant (initialled CTCG), sometimes by Hope Brooke or Admiral Brooke, draw attention to the Rajah's reiteration of his promise that his nephew Brooke should succeed him as ruler of Sarawak. As early as 1845 he wrote proposing that Brooke should join him as aide-decamp, saying that it was his wish "to transmit this as an inheritance to you and to your heirs" (Vol. 2, ff. 1-6). Brooke left the Army and joined the Sarawak Service in 1848, assuming his uncle's name. Throughout the sixteen years he served in Sarawak there was never any doubt that he was heir presumptive and would one day take over the reins of government and become the second Rajah.

It was during the course of Sir James's long-drawn-out negotiations with the British Government, and later with Holland, France, and Belgium, that there appeared signs of discord between the two men. Brooke disagreed with his uncle's opinion that Sarawak could not maintain her independence unsupported, and disliked the idea of protection by a Foreign Power. In October 1858 the Rajah suffered a stroke while in England; he made a good recovery, but heavy responsibilities devolved on Brooke. Personal tragedies befell him: in December 1858 the death of his beloved wife Annie, following the birth of their second son, Hope, and two years later the death of their elder boy. In 1862 his second wife also died in childbirth. The Rajah's constant letters of instructions and criticism, sometimes several in one day, must have added to the tension at a time when Brooke was exhausted by emotional strain and anxiety. He came increasingly to feel that the proposal to "hand over" Sarawak, in return for payment of a sum that wo uld recompense the Rajah for the amount he had expended from his "private fortune", was a violation of his own rights as heir. His resentment was exacerbated by a report on Sarawak written by St John for the British Government and shown to him by Colonel Cavenagh, Governor of the Straits Settlements, during his visit in 1862. In this memorandum Brooke felt his claims were "utterly suppressed". He wrote to his uncle in England a threatening letter of reproach and defiance (Vol. 5, ff 488-9), and to Lord Russell a protest against a transfer of the country without his consent and that of the Council.

The Rajah sailed at once for Singapore. On 24 February 1863 the two men met: Brooke submitted to his uncle's authority and departed for England "on leave of absence"; the Rajah proceeded to Sarawak to resume government, accompanied by his nephew Charles.

Had Brooke kept silence on reaching England, the situation might yet have been retrieved. Instead he attempted to demonstrate that wrong that had been done to himself and to his son, and to prove that his uncle had abdicated in his favor in 1861, a fact that Charles Grant was ready to confirm (Vol. 11, ff. 123-4). The publication of his pamphlet "A Statement Regarding Sarawak" (Box 3/6) brought final disaster. A letter from the Rajah ended their relationship: "I disinherit you for crimes you have committed against the State and against myself" (Vol. 3, f 399). His brother Charles was installed in his place and in 1868, on the death of Sir James, became second Rajah. Brooke survived his uncle by only a few months.

From these papers Brooke Brooke emerges as a man of courage, integrity and resource who, in the words of his grandson Admiral Brooke, "carried almost all the weight and difficulties when the country was being rescued from the pirates and the jungle" (Box 3/10, f 3). Quiet and reserved in manner, he possessed "a noble nature and sweet temper" (Vol. 4, f 420). He had great affection and admiration for his brilliant uncle, whose elegance of style in prose and diplomacy he could not hope to emulate but whose advice and judgement he accepted loyally until they ran contrary to what he felt to be right. Perhaps out of temperamental differences grew the misunderstandings that ended in tragedy for Brooke. But though never officially Rajah, he gave devoted service to Sarawak and played a fundamental part in the development of the country. He is buried in the family vault in the churchyard at White Lackington, near Ilminster, where his father was vicar for 49 years. A memorial tablet in the chancel (one of many commemor ating members of the Johnson family) names him as "Rajah Muda of Sarawak".

We gratefully acknowledge our indebtedness to Mrs. Margaret Noble who initiated the deposit of these papers, and warmly record her most generous response to all our calls upon her specialized knowledge of the Brooke family and their history, both in connection with these papers and with a second large collection deposited in Rhodes House Library (MSS Pac. S 83); this is concerned mainly with the later period of Brooke rule and the cession of Sarawak to the British Crown in 1946, but it contains also earlier papers including correspondence with the first and second Rajahs.

Other relevant papers in Rhodes House Library are an unsigned "Statement of the proceedings of Governor Edwards upon the Coast of Borneo" [1860] (MSS Pac. S 1); extracts from letters, 1841-48, from Sir James Brooke to Henry Wise, printed for Members of the House of Commons, copies of letters from Wise to the Foreign Office, 1845-48, and from Sir James to Captain Bethune, 1845 (MSS Pac. S 66).
MSS Pac. s 90 Contents

Vols 1-4 Letters from Sir James Brooke,
Vol. 1 To Captain J.K. Jolly, 1833-57
 (ff 1-120).
 To his sister Emma Johnson and
 other members of his family,
 1848-65 (ff. 121-302).
 To his nephew Charles A. Johnson,
 1849-60 (ff.303-51).
Vol. 2A To his nephew J. Brooke Brooke,
 1845, 1855-59 March 31
 (ff. 1-309).
Vol. 2B To J. Brooke Brooke, 1959 April
 1-DEc 30 (ff. 310-641).
Vol. 3 To J. Brooke Brooke, 1860-66.
Vol. 4 To Charles T.C. Grant, 1846-63
 (ff 1-295).
 To John Grant of Kilgraston,
 1848-59 (ff. 296-533).
Vols 5-7 Letters from J. Brooke Brooke,
Vol. 5 To his uncle, Sir James Brook,
Vol. 6 To his parents, Rev. F.C. and Mrs.
 Johnson, and members of his
 family, 1848, 1854-67 (ff. 1-290).
 To members of his first wife's
 family, the Grants of Kilgraston,
 1951-66 (ff. 291-419).
Vol. 7 To Robert Hay, 1857-66 (ff. 1-149)
 and various other correspondents,
 1856-67 (ff. 150-97).
Vol. 8 Letters from Charles A. Johnson
 (Brooke), 1853-84
 To Charles T.C. Grant, 1853-84
 (ff. 1-71).
 To L.V. Helms, 1857 (72-3).
 To Robert Hay, 1859-67
 (ff. 131-99).
 To his brother, J. Brooke Brooke,
 1859-63 (ff. 131-99).
 To his parents, Rev.F.C. and Mrs.
 Johnson, 1860-63 (ff. 200-9)
 To his uncle, Sir James Brooke,
 1861 (ff. 210-11).
 To his brother, Stuart Johnson,
 [1862] (ff. 212-14).
 To his sister Emma and her husband
 Rev. E.B. Evelyn, 1863-8, 1874
 (ff. 215-49).
Vol. 9 Letters from other members of the
 Brooke and Johnson families,
 From Annie Brooke, 1851-58
 (ff. 1-134).
 From Rev. F.C. Johnson, 1853-62
 (ff. 135-50).
 From Mrs. F.C. Johnson, 1861-62
 (ff. 151-80).
 From Rev. E.B. Evelyn, 1863-75
 (ff. 181-239).
 From Hope Brooke and other
 relatives, 1854-1936
 (ff. 240-360).
Vol. 10 Letters from Charles T.C. Grant,
 To his parents, John Grant of
 Kilgraston and the Lady Lucy
 Grant, and his sisters, 1845-75
 (ff. 1-263).
 To his wife Matilda, her parents
 Mr. & Mrs. William Hay of Dunse
 Castle, N.B., and other members of
 her family, chiefly her brother
 Robert Hay, 1857-67 (ff. 264-486).
Vol. 11 Letters from Charles T.C. Grant,
 To J. Brooke Brooke, 1856-63 (ff.
 To Sir James Brooke, 1858-63 (ff.
 To Charles Johnson Brooke, 1863 &
 1869 (ff. 157-92).
 Letters from Matilda Grant and from
 her cousin and brothers, 1856-66
 (ff. 193-330).
Vol. 12 Letters from John Grant, Laird of
 Kilgraston, 1848-72
 To his son Charles, 1848-63 (ff.
 To Sir James Brooke, 1853-9 (ff.
 To Matilda Grant and her brother
 Robert Hay, 1856-72 (ff. 188-224).
 To J. Brooke Brooke and his wife
 Annie [nee Grant] (ff. 225-83).
 To his wife, the Lady Lucy Grant
 [?1842], 1861-72 (ff. 386-96).
 To his son Alan, 1862-72 (ff.
 To his daughters Mary and Lucy,
 1870-72 (ff. 374-85).
 Miscellaneous and fragments, n.d.
 and 1856-70 (ff. 386-96).
 Letters from the Lady Lucy Grant
 and members of her family, 1856-62
 (ff. 397-422).
 Letters from members of the Grant
 family 1840-63, 1936 (ff.423-32).
Vols 13-16 Letters from various
 correspondents, 1844-1961,
 arranged alphabetically, with some
 additional papers in Vol. 16.
Vol. 13 A-G.
Vol. 14 H-R
Vol. 15 S.
Vol. 16 T-Z (ff. 1-110).
 Incomplete letters and extracts,
 writers unidentified (ff. 111-32).
 Malay documents and letters (ff.
 Notes and copies of letters
 relating to negotiations with
 Holand, France and the British
 Government, 1859-63 (ff. 156-237).
Vol. 17 "Newspaper Extracts - Borneo -
 1847-1865" compiled by C.T.C.
 Grant (pp. 1-194).

(1.) Published here with permission of the National Manuscripts Commission of Chancery Lane.
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Author:Empson, P.A.
Publication:Borneo Research Bulletin
Article Type:Bibliography
Date:Jan 1, 1999
Previous Article:The Brooke-Sarawak archive at Rhodes House Library, Oxford. (Research Notes).
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