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angular tract of 6 geographical miles square, to be selected by Major Studer on any part of Muar not already conveyed by the Sultan in writing to any other party previous to the date of the agreement. The conditions of the grant were not onerous to Major Studer. The only conditions attaching to what he treats as an absolute conveyance in fee simple of 36 square geographical miles, equivalent to 45 square statute miles, were a covenant to have the land surveyed within three years, to begin to clear jungle and to plant within three years, and to pay over one-tenth of the minerals and produce exported and one-tenth of the rents derived from any towns established on the tract. By the second deed, dated the 3rd February, 1877, the terms of the grant were materially altered to the advantage of Major Studer. The area was extended so that it was made to include an additional 33 geographical square miles, and the obligation to have the land surveyed within three years was abrogated. No additional obligations were undertaken by Major Studer.
The effect to be attributed to these documents must depend upon the Malay customary law. The difficulties in their interpretation are due to the fact that Major Studer prepared them himself,* and used forms and language applicable only to a land system such as that which prevails in England or the United States.
His Majesty's Government have endeavoured to ascertain for the information of the Tribunal, what the Malay law was on the subject in Muar in 1877. A series of papers on the subient will he found in Annav 2 Special attention himself possessed over the lands comprised in the grant. A Malay ruler has no power to dispossess existing owners of property. His authority only extends to unoccupied areas. According to Malay law, a permanent title to land can only be acquired by occupation and cultivation. That law knows no such thing as land grants, and consequently the document given to Major Studer cannot be construed as such. It was merely evidence of the Sultan's personal acquiescence in the acquisition of land by Major Studer. The method by which Major Studer would acquire a title would be by the clearing and cultivation which he undertook. His title would flow from those acts and not from the Sultan's grant. The only principle on which this document can be made consistent with Malay law is to treat it as a permit to occupy and acquire a title to land by cultivation. Furthermore, as a permit, it was personal to the Sultan who granted it. Malay administration knew nothing of permanent written records or maps, and being personal to the Sultan who granted it, the permit would lapse at the death of the grantor and would require confirmation by the successor.
The only effect which could be given to the grant under the customary law prevailing in a Malay State at the time, was, therefore, quite different from that suggested by the language employed in the grant. Results, however, of that, kind are inevitable when an attempt is made to apply the technical language of a highly specialised land system of the West to the simple and elementary system of the Malay Peninsula.
No rights which the Malay law gave Major Studer under Sultan Ali's grants have ever been interfered with, either by the Sultan of Johore or by His Majesty's Government. He was, in fact, treated with considerable toleration, this Major Studer could hardly expect, for neither the conditions of Sultan Ali's rule in Muar, nor the land grants which he made, nor the circumstances of Major Studer, who was the moving spirit in their acquisition, were such as to commend them to the new ruler of Muar.
When the principles of the Malay customary law and the effect thereunder to be given to Major Studer's grants are appreciated a great deal of the Memorial of the United States becomes irrelevant. His Majesty's Government feel, however, that they must reply to it, lest it should be thought that they acquiesced in the baseless charges, couched in the most unbecoming language, which are made against the late ruler of Johore in some of the documents in the Appendix. The facts will therefore be related in detail. .
. Sultan Ali as Ruler of Muar. At the time when the grants in favour of Major Studer were made by Sultan Ali, that potentate was indigent and infirm and resided at Malacca. He had never been able to obtain any control or foothold in the country of which he was the titular sovereign. So far as he was concerned, there was no Government and no administration in Muar. * What little authority there was was exercised by a Tumonggong and some Penghulus, who were entirely independent of Sultan Ali. There was a complete absence of all organised government, and the population of the entire territory is said to have fallen to 800.+
Sultan Ali derived no income from Muar, and eked out a precarious existence on a monthly pension of 670 dollars, viz., 500 dollars under the treaty or arrangement of 1855, and 170 dollars allowed him by the Indian Government on account of his indigence. He was heavily in debt and had mortgaged anything and everything which his creditors could take as security. The amount of his debts exceeded the total value of the territory of Muar, and his mortgagees had been given power to dispose of all Sultan Ali's rights over the territory.
* Memorial, page 451.
+ Memorial, page 394 # Memorial, page 452.
Some account of the condition of Muar under Sultan Ali will be found in paragraphs 6 and 7 of the 1901 Answer of the Johore Government, at pages 451 and 452 of the Memorial, and in Mr. Chamberlain's Memorandum of 1897.*
To understand Sultan Ali's true position in 1877 as titular ruler of Muar, it is necessary to appreciate what had been the relative positions of the Sultan and the Tumonggong in Johore. The nominal ruler was the Sultan, but it was the Tumonggong who exercised all real authority. Sultan Al was the descendant of the Sultans of Johore. His father, Hussain, had been recognised as Sultan of Johore by the English in 1824, his elder brother being then passed over. Hussain died in 1835, while Ali was a minor. In 1840, Ali came of age and was then recognised as his father's personal successor, but his claim to the sovereignty received no recognition until 1855. In that year, a limited effect was given to it by the treaty which is printed at page 305 of the Memorial. All this time the real ruler of Johore was the Tumonggong. The treaty of 1855 was an arrangement between the actual ruler of Johore, the Tumonggong, and the claimant to the Sultanate. Under it, Ali waived all claim to Johore, while Daing Ibrahim, the Tumonggong, waived all right to Muar, which passed to Sultan Ali. Muar was but a little state as compared with Johore, but it must be remembered that it was an arrangement between the man who had the substance as the actual ruler of Johore, and the man who was only the claimant to the shadow.
As ruler of Muar, Sultan Ali was not a success. He experienced considerable difficulty in obtaining possession of it, for the chiefs and people were apparently adverse to the change of rulers. To help him through his difficulties he made an agreement with a man named Silawatong. * Memorial, page 392.
† Memorial, page 393.
This agreement will be found in Annex 3.* Under it Silawatong was to govern the district with the consent of Sultan Ali, and was entitled to enforce obedience upon any people who refused to submit. The revenue derived from Muar was to be divided into three parts every six months; Sultan Ali was to have two parts and Silawatong one part.
Not long afterwards a letter of complaint was addressed by Silawatong to the Resident of Malacca, and the account given in this letter of the reception which was accorded to Silawatong's emissaries would be entertaining, but for the pathetic picture which it gives of the unhappy condition of this little State.
Firstly, there were three men whom I ordered to go
up the river to the interior, to Buloh Aker, taking a capital of 200 or 300 dollars; these were all three killed with poison by the Temonggong of Muar, Inchi Ismael, and not any portion of their effects came back to me; it is three years now,
and still nothing has been settled by Sultan Ali or the people of the country.
“Secondly, I ordered four men to guard the people on the hill, and they were all four killed from being shot. Thirdly, I ordered two men to go to Doke
was shot dead and the other was poisoned, so both died; and of their things which were returned to me were one musket and one kris, and all the rest was seized by the people. This again was not examined into or adjusted
And so on.
The letter will be found as No. 2 of Annex 3.4
Sultan Ali's answer to the enquiries made by the Resident after the receipt of this letter was that he had not yet collected the revenues of Muar because the people Page 94.
† Page 96.