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Recounting the Memories of the Past
The Royalist (is not to be confused with many Royal Navy ships of the same name) was a 142-ton topsail schooner. She was probably built in Cowes in 1834 as a gentleman’s yacht for Rev F.T.Lane, but purchased by James Brooke in 1836 with money he had inherited from his father. He intended to use it for an expedition to the East Indies in the course of a circumnavigation of the globe, in preparation for which he cruised in the Mediterranean in 1837. As a vessel of the Royal Yacht Squadron it was permitted to fly the White Ensign and be accorded the same rights as ships of the Royal Navy.
When armed, with ’6 six-pounders, a number of swivels, and small arms in abundance’, it was effectively a private warship and was instrumental in Brooke establishing his foothold in Sarawak from his first visit in 1839 until becoming the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841. Without this Schooner it would hardly be possible for James Brooke to force Pengiran Muda Hashim to fulfil his promise of giving him the administration of Sarawak after he had successfully defeat the rebels.
The Royalist is last heard of in Brunei in September 1843, and is said to have been sold early in 1844.