Report of Acting British Consul-General British to Earl of Derby on Lease of Sabah to Overbeck and Dent


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One comment on “Report of Acting British Consul-General British to Earl of Derby on Lease of Sabah to Overbeck and Dent

  1. Hush Truth says:

    The true history of Sabah is that the Sultan of Sulu was no longer able to make as much in tribute and slaves from Borneo. The Spanish and British had reduced his slave raids on the Ida’an. He could no longer successfully blockade trade on the rivers so many of his vassals were no longer paying annual tribute. He even told the British Consul General that he was bringing in only about $9000/year profit in 1878, and it was costing him several thousand to get that. As well he was concerned that the Spanish would invade. So he needed guns and ammunition. (Drawhorn, 2013)

    So when the Borneo Company offered him weapons (including a Gatling gun), ammunition, and payments “on term” of $6000 annually it was a good deal. In fact, recall that the Sultan later accepted $6000 from the Spanish and $9000 from the Americans for surrendering the sovereignty of the ENTIRE ARCHIPELAGO. The Sultan gave up the Deed “in perpetuity” (or in Tausug “until the sun and moon are no longer in the heavens”). There is no end-point for the Deed. It is, for all extents and purposes, a Cession (as pointed out by Judge MacKaskie in 1937). (Drawhorn, 2013)

    Although a Cession, the payments were made in annual installments instead of one lump-sum payment to prevent (1) financial irresponsibility of Sultan whereby all money would be unwisely spent with none left for descendants, and more importantly, (2) Sultan from ever again demanding for more payments and causing future trouble despite having been paid in full.

    According to the “Commission” Papers drawn up the same day as the 1878 Agreement Overbeck, Dent and “their heirs and successors” do not have to be approved by the Sultan. In fact, it is Britain that was granted the power to veto transfers to “foreign states and companies”. Not Sulu. Thus a transfer to Spain, the United States or the Philippines of North Borneo would have required British permission. (Drawhorn, 2013)

    Indicated above are comments by:
    Dr. Gerrell Miles Drawhorn
    Department of Anthropology
    California State University
    Sacramento, USA

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