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2. CHARLES ANTHONI JOHNSON

 

Transcription of Panel 2:

 

Charles Anthoni Johnson, second son of the Rev. Francis Charles Johnson and his wife Emma Brooke  who was born at Berrow Vicarage, Somerset in 1829. He entered the Navy in 1842 and served under his uncle Commander Willes Johnson, on the China Station. With Captain the Hon. Henry Keppel - a close friend of James Brooke - he visited Sarawak for the first time in 1844, and in 1852, obtained leave of absence for two years to help the Rajah administer the country. In 1854, he resigned from the Navy and was granted the title of Tuan Muda*, and a few years before his uncle retired, changed his name to Brooke. By his courage, resource and integrity in many hazardous encounters, he won the trust of the Sarawak people to whose service and the laws laid down by the First Rajah he dedicated himself. Inheriting a country considerably in debt, he lived for many years with great frugality and in 1871 repaid the money loaned by Baroness Burdett-Coutts.

During his reign, many more tribes in Borneo sought protection under his sovereignty so that the boundaries of the State were much extended. Ruling it like his uncle with only a handful of British assistants and a small force of Sarawak Rangers, founded in 1846, he continuously travelled its 50,000 square miles, consulting with the chiefs of many different tribes of diverse race, language and custom and making himself accessible to all. Austere, direct and autocratic, he was also radical and far-sighted with clear perception of what was likely to happen to colonial possessions in the twentieth century. He sailed his own ships. he established a sound economy and an effective Civil Service and introduced many Public Works. Agriculture and trade prospered, medical services, schools and Christian Missions were established. In 1874, he was created a Commander of the Crown of Italy, and promoted in 1899 to Grand officer. In 1888, Queen Victoria created him a GCMG and Sarawak was recognised as a fully independent State under the protection of Great Britain. In 1869, he married his cousin, Margaret de Windt. Their first three children died of cholera, but three further sons, Charles Vyner, Bertram and Harry, were born to them. Sir Charles Brooke died in his eighty-eighth year at his house in Cirencester on May 17 197. He had been Rajah for nearly fifty years.

*"Little Lord" or heir presumptive.

 

A ceremonial blanket, gift of the people of Sarawak
A ceremonial blanket, a Pua Kumbu, hangs on the south wall of this tiny church. It is the gift  of the people of Sarawak. A second Pua Kumbu hangs from the lectern - the gift of Mr. Lim Kian Hock.

 

 

 
 
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