Extracts from Illustrated London News on the JWW Birch Incident

13 NOVEMBER 1875
Mr Birch, the British Resident at Perak, a State on the western coast of the Malay Peninsula, has been murdered. It appears that Mr Birch was attacked in his bath. His Malay interpreter is reported  to have been killed, while four of his suite were wounded, and two are missing. Energetic measures are being taken to bring to light the perpetrators of the outrage. All the native Rajahs are suspected of complicity in the murder, and Sultan Ismail is reported to be collecting large forces for the purpose of attempting to expel the British. The British Residency at Perak was besieged; but it was relieved on Saturday last. On the following day a stockade further up the river was attacked, but without success, and Captain Innes was killed, two other officers being wounded, as well as eight men. A telegram from Singapore, of Wednesday’s date, says that 1,500 British troops are on their way from Calcutta and I-long Kong to take part in the further operations against the Malays. According to the latest reports the body of Mr Birch was found in the river river.

20 NOVEMBER 1875
The Colonial Office has received some further information respecting the murder of Mr Birch, which took place while the gentleman was in his bath, and happened during an affray which followed on a Malay tearing down a proclamation at Pasir Sala. The principal chiefs of Perak are reported to remain unshaken in their loyalty, and the disturbances are confined to a limited area.

General Colborne, with the troops from Hong Kong, has arrived at Perak. The Government of the Straits Settlements has issued what is described as a pacific proclamation. Hostilities are suspended pending the chiefs’ answer and the arrival of reinforcements from India; but the British war vessels are blockading the coast, and the Malays are reported to be enduring great privations. The Times publishes a telegram from Moulmein, dated Nov. 30, in which we read:- “The Indian troops arrived at Penang on the 26th, and marched through Larut to Quallakangza, meeting the Perak force. Sultan Ismail probably will prove friendly.The General leaves with the Perak force for Quallakangza. On the 28th the Governor of the Straits Settlement left Perak. He remains at Penang.”

The Queen has bestowed a Civil List pension of £75 a year on each of the three younger children of the late Mr. J.W.W. Birch, British Resident at the Court of Perak; and it is understood that the Secretary of State for the Colonies will make provision for the eldest son in the colonial service.



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