Leen Helmink Antique Maps

Early steel engraving of Singapore

Stock number: 19295

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First Published

London, 1840

This Edition

1840 first and only edition




Rare steel engraving from the early 1840s, looking past the city of Singapore, with dozens of sailing ships off the coast.


Two days' steaming from Penang, and Singapore is reached. The voyage is pleasant, the steamer never being out of sight of land; and the mountain-ranges of Malacca on one hand, with the groups of mountainous islands of the other, frequently cause many picturesque scenes to pass before the eye.

Singapore-(Singhapura, " City of the Lion")-lies at the bottom of a cluster of islets, about seventy in number, off the southern extremity of Malay peninsula, from which it is separated by a strait, only about a quarter of a mile across in its part. The surface is diversified with hills and valleys; it is well-stocked with timber, and is fertile and healthy. The town of Singapore, on the south aide of the island, consists of "low houses, crowded together on the left- hand side of a small creek, a long line of smart bungalows stretching along the margin of the shore, on the other side of the creek, with an esplanade in front of them; undulating hills in the background are covered with foliage;" on one of which, called the (governor's Hill, stands the governor's bungalow.

The population, in recent returns, is estimated at 60,000, of whom 20,000 are Chinese. But Mr. Wingrove Gooke says, there are "70,000 Chinamen, and not above 300 women," and that a "horrible demoralisation exists among the males-a demoralisation which might call down fire from heaven." If this is a correct picture the prospect is fearful. Singapore was taken possession of by Sir Stamford Baffles in 1818. Seven years after, the town of Malacca, with a territory extending about forty miles along the coast, and thirty mileg inland, was ceded to Britain by the Dutch, in exchange for Bencoolen, in Sumatra. The possession of Malacca, Singapore, and Penang, gives us complete command of the passage to China; and with Sarawak on the coast of Borneo, and Hong-Kong off the mouth of the Pearl Biver, Britain has the complete preponderance in that quarter of the globe. Singapore is a free port, and has become a great entrep6fc. The average value of its imports is estimated at £3,500,000, and of its exports, at £3,000,000 per annum.



Original hand colour. Excellent condition overall.