Ref NoBFSS/1/5/1/5/3
Alt Ref NoBFSS/FC/Straits
TitleMalaysia and Singapore [Straits Settlements]
Date1822 - 1894
Extent42 items
AdminHistoryDuring the first few years of BFSS activity in India few contacts were established with the lands farther east. By the mid-1820s this situation had dramatically altered as political changes opened opportunities for missionaries and educational activities in the Malayan Archipelago.

Penang was Britain's first settlement in Southeast Asia. A British colony was established on the island of Penang in 1786. In 1819 Sir Stamford Raffles founded his settlement at Singapore. Malacca was ceded to the British in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824, having been ruled by the Dutch since 1641.

These three colonies were united in 1826 as the Straits Settlements under the control of the East India Company and later as a Crown Colony.

With the Malacca Straits in British hands, it was seen by missionaries as a route through to China. In 1821 a London Missionary Society missionary, Dr Milne, launched his Ultra Ganges Mission to Malacca, established an Anglo-Chinese college and opened several Chinese boys' schools. During the 1820s the Society's activities in the Straits Settlements figure prominently in the reports of the BFSS. Attempts to open elementary schools on Lancasterian lines took place at all 3 settlements, to which monitorial equipment was supplied by the BFSS. It was at Malacca that the major effort of the LMS, supported by the BFSS, was made. The population was a mix of Malays, Tamils, Chinese, and Eurasians. More than a dozen schools were operated by the missionaries or native teachers. The Malacca Free School was mainly for poor children of Portuguese and Eurasian descent who were nominally Christian. John Moore was sent out as a master under Rev Dr Morrison, after attending BRC. He was followed in 1827 by Maria Newall who had attended BRC for only a week, and in 1828 by Martha Wallace who went out under the auspices of the BFSS. Moore's correspondence with the BFSS [see also the Annual Reports] provides useful info about the progress of the Malacca Free School.

Martha Wallace succeeded Maria Newall, who had married Karl Friedrich August Gutzlaff, a missionary and gone to Siam. Newall died in childbirth in 1831 in Bangkok. A special subscription had been raised by the BFSS Ladies' Committee to send Miss Wallace to Malacca. Miss Wallace took over as mistress of the girls' section of the Free School in 1829. In 1831 the East India Company cancelled its grant to the Free School. In spite of a plea from Dr Morrison for the BFSS to assist her financially, Miss Wallace was informed by the BFSS Ladies committee that she must in future depend entirely on local resources or return to England without delay at the expense of the BFSS. It is not known what became of her.

Moore became master of the Singapore Free School when it opened in 1834. It had little contact with the BFSS. The early optimism of the BFSS in India and East Indies waned and enthusiasm transferred to the West Indies after the Slavery Emancipation Act of 1833.

For 70 years the role of the BFSS in the East Indies was that of cooperation with the missionaries societies, its efforts confined to correspondence, grants of books and materials and recommendation of teachers. The monitorial system, replaced in England by the pupil-teacher system, just did not work in India and East Indies, due to the multiple languages of the local population and pupils.
CustodialHistoryThis file was formed by merging two original files called "Malaya" and "Malacca", as there was such overlap between the files, and some items referred to Singapore and Penang. 2 items were removed to the India file, and 2 to the Madagascar file.
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