Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824
The Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824, also known as the Treaty of London, was a treaty signed between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in London on 17 March 1824. The treaty was to resolve disputes arising from the execution of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814. For the Dutch, it was signed by Hendrik Fagel and Anton Reinhard Falck and for the UK, George Canning and Charles Watkin Williams Wynn.
The Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824, designed to solve many of the issues that had arisen due to the British occupation of Dutch properties during the Napoleonic Wars, as well as issues regarding the rights to trade that existed for hundreds of years in the Spice Islands between the two nations, was a treaty that addressed a wide array of issues and did not clearly describe the limitations of expansion by either side in the Malay world. The British establishment of Singapore on the Malay Peninsula in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles exacerbated the tension between the two nations, especially as the Dutch claimed that the treaty signed between Raffles and the Sultan of Johore was invalid, and that the Sultanate of Johore was under the Dutch sphere of influence. The questions surrounding the fate of Dutch trading rights in British India and formerly Dutch possessions in the area also became a point of contention between Calcutta and Batavia. In 1820, under pressures from British merchants with interests in the Far East, negotiations to clarify the situation in Southeast Asia started.
Negotiations between Canning and Fagel started on 20 July 1820. The Dutch were adamant on the British abandonment of Singapore. Indeed, Canning was unsure of the exact circumstances under which Singapore was acquired, and at first, only non-controversial issues such as free-navigation rights and the elimination of piracy were agreed upon. Discussions on the subject were suspended on 5 August 1820, and did not resume until 1823, by which time the commercial value of Singapore was well-recognized by the British. The negotiations resumed on 15 December 1823, by which time the discussion became centred around the establishment of clear spheres of influence in the region. The Dutch, realising that the growth of Singapore could not be curbed, pressed for an exchange in which they abandoned their claims north of the Strait of Malacca and its Indian colonies in exchange for the confirmation of their claims south of the strait, as well as the British colony of Bencoolen. The final treaty was signed on 23 March 1824 by Fagel and Canning.
The treaty holds that subjects of the two nations are permitted to trade in territories of British India, Ceylon and modern-day Indonesia and Malaysia on the basis of "most favoured nation" but must obey local regulations. It limits the fees that may be charged on the subjects and ships of the other nation. They also agree not to make any further treaties with Eastern states that exclude trade with the other nation. They agree not to use their civil and military forces to hinder trade. They agree to oppose piracy and not provide hiding places or protection to pirates or allow the sale of pirated goods. They agree that their local officials can not open new offices on East Indies islands without permission from their government in Europe.
- British subjects to be given trade access with the Maluku Islands, in particular with Ambon, Banda and Ternate.
- The Netherlands cedes all of its establishments on the Indian subcontinent (Dutch India from 1609 ) and any rights associated with them.
- The UK cedes its factory of Fort Marlborough in Bencoolen (Bengkulu) and all its property on the island of Sumatra to the Netherlands and will not establish another office on the island or make any treaty with its rulers.
- The Netherlands cedes the city and fort of Malacca and agrees not to open any office on the Malay peninsula or make any treaty with its rulers.
- The UK withdraws its opposition to the occupation of the island of Billiton by the Netherlands.
- The Netherlands withdraws its opposition to the occupation of the island of Singapore by the UK.
- The UK agrees not to establish any office on the Carimon Islands or on the islands of Batam, Bintan, Lingin, or any of the other islands south of the strait of Singapore, or to make any treaties with the rulers of these places.
All the transfers of property and establishments were to take place on 1 March 1825. They agreed that the return of Java to the Netherlands, as according to a Convention on Java of 24 June 1817, had been settled, apart from a sum of 100,000 pounds sterling to be paid by the Netherlands in London before the end of 1825. The treaty was ratified by the UK on 30 April 1824 and by the Netherlands on 2 June 1824.
The Anglo–Dutch Treaty of 1824 officially demarcated two territories; Malaya, which was ruled by the United Kingdom, and the Dutch East Indies, which was ruled by the Netherlands. The successor states of Malaya are Malaysia and Singapore and the successor state of the Dutch East Indies is Indonesia. The line that separated the spheres of influence between the British and the Dutch ultimately became the border between Indonesia and Malaysia (with a small segment becoming the border between Indonesia and Singapore).
The treaty came at a time when the influence of the British East India Company was waning and the individual merchant was gaining more influence within Great Britain. The emphasis on territory and sphere of influence is consistent with former EIC policies in India and elsewhere. As the four-years long negotiations went on, the existence of Singapore strongly started to favour the new independent merchants and their houses. As this came at the heels of the termination of the monopoly the EIC had on the area, the subsequent rise of Singapore as a free port and the first example of the new British free-trade imperialism can be seen as a direct result on the confirmation of its status in the treaty.
It has been admitted that 1824 Treaty entered by the British and the Dutch is without the consent of the Malay Rulers and their ministers, it was therefore lack of jurisdiction thus rendered it null and void. The invalidity of such treaties, including 1824 Treaty was recognised by Para 3 as stipulated in the White Paper tabled in the British Parliament for the purpose of forming a Malayan Union Government in 1946, Para 3 says;
"The British Crown must provide the common link which will draw together the communities of Malaya and promote a sense of common interest and the development of common institutions. Under the old situation His Majesty had no jurisdiction in any of the Malay states, although under the treaties the Malay Rulers had to accept British advice (except in matters of Religion and custom). The new policy however requires that His Majesty should have jurisdiction in the Malay States, so that he may be enabled to legislate for all the States alike under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act. .."
It was clearly stipulated that the British shall require the jurisdiction to be delegated/ ceded/bestowed by the Malay Rulers for His Majesty to legislate the terms governing a future federation of the Malay states, the said provision clearly declared that without the consent of the Malay Rulers, the British shall have no jurisdiction to legislate or act on behalf of the Malay Rulers. Legally speaking, it is right to conclude that the British-Dutch Treaty 1824 and other treaties entered with any other parties by the British or the Dutch without the consent and approval of the Malay Rulers in their respective jurisdiction were invalid.
- Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814
- Anglo-Dutch Treaties of 1870–71
- Netherlands–United Kingdom relations
- 1824 in Singapore
- Text in Dutch
- Webster, Anthony. (1998) Gentlemen Capitalists: British Imperialism in Southeast Asia, Tauris Academic Studies, New York, ISBN 1-86064-171-7.