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File 1508/1905 Pt 1 'Bahrain: situation; disurbances (1904-1905); Sheikh Ali's surrender; Question of Administration Reforms (Customs etc)' [‎41v] (87/531)

The record is made up of 1 volume (260 folios). It was created in Nov 1904-Aug 1914. It was written in English and French. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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listen generally to my advice in important affairs. Sheikh Esa replied “ what
sort of matters do you mean ? ” I replied “ any important matters of
tration in regard to which Government gives yon advice for your good. He
replied “ I must consider whether such and such a measure is for my good or
A not, and if I decide that it is, I will inform Government and if I consider that
it does not suit me then I will inform Government likewise . Well I
replied ‘‘ you mentioned just now that there had been neglect ( ,? tt
the part of Government in regard to some of your affairs; I repeat the
assurance that there has been no neglect, but on the contrary your affairs have
been constantly under the consideration of Government for the last year, as
vou may judge from this bulky file before me, and there is one subject which
it is evident to me from the correspondence which has passed, Government
will not entirely drop and that is the matter of your Customs. He replied
nuickly I have already given you an answer on that subject, and have no
other answer to give.” I continued “ Let me explain. Government see you
constantly in debt and not knowing where to turn for money, because you
only set Ks. 1,20,000 from your Customs when you might get three or four
lakhs. Their simple wish is that you should get the full benefit of your
Customs revenue and that your State and yourself should profit by it.^ There
is no wish to annex your Customs nor interfere unnecessarily in your
administration; all that is wanted is that you should accept from Govern
ment trained employes, of a stamp which your own following cannot supply;
men who would conduct your Customs on regular lines and pay you the
resulting profit He replied that he had discussed all this with Colonel
Meade, Colonel Kemball and myself before, and had always given the same
answer, and his answer was the same now whether it be written or spoken.
I then appealed to his three sons and asked them whether they could not
influence their father, but they said they were in his hands. The old Sheikh
went on to say that when the Bunnia’s contract had expired (they have only
just started a new one lasting till January 1908) he would take the Customs
into his own hands but would have none other than his own servants, Arabs
of Bahrein, and that he would not have anyone from Government. I repeatedly
asked him to explain to me in a friendly way what were the reasons which
prompted him to adopt this attitude but he answered each time that he had
no reasons to give except that he was not prepared to accept the measure pro
posed, in any form.
I then said to him “When I tell you frankly before your sons that this
improvement in the Administration of your Customs is a matter with regard to
which Government consider that it is incumbent upon you to conform to their
advice, repeatedly and seriously given, and when I assure you that they will
surely not accept a complete refusal on your part especially when it is accom
panied by no reasons whatever, sound or otherwise, do you not think you would
be much better advised to agree to the adoption of our proposals wholly or
partially, of your own accord, rather than that Government should be driven
to dispense with your acquiescence and do what is best for you whether you
like it or not ? ” He replied “ If Government wish to do so against my wishes it
is of course within their power, but it will not be done with my consent”.
Again and again were the same explanations made to him and the same
ground gone over as had been traversed before by Colonel Meade, Colonel
Jiemball, His Excellency Lord Curzon, and myself, but without the least
response or result, and feeling that there was no hope of moving him from his
stubborn attitude, I gradually changed the subject and went on to deal with
two or three other topics which required mention.
These were
(1) The Slave Agreement from the Howasir Sheikhs which Sheikh Esa
has notified his ii ability to exact. (Vide Foreign Department
letter No. 3351-E. B., dated 4th September 1905, paragraph 6.)
(2) The case of the Estate of Seyyid Khalaf and outstanding British
claim against it (vide last enclosure to letter No. 331, dated 16th
July 1905, from the Political Besident in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. , to
the Secretary to the Government of India in the Foreign Depart

About this item


The volume contains correspondence relating to disturbances in Bahrain and the consequent discussion over administrative changes. The correspondence is mostly between the India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. , the Foreign Office, and the Government of India. Further correspondence, included as enclosures, is from the following:

The disturbances centred around attacks on a German man and several Persians by Shaikh Isa's nephew, Ali bin Ahmed, and his followers in late 1904. The papers within the volume cover several matters related to these attacks:

  • the investigation into the details of the attacks;
  • the discussion over what to do about Ali bin Ahmed and his eventual exile;
  • British naval operations to enforce order;
  • Turkish claims that Shaikh Isa believes himself to be a Turkish subject;
  • the discussion over increased administrative intervention in Bahrain, specifically control of customs.
Extent and format
1 volume (260 folios)

The papers are arranged in approximate chronological order from the rear to the front of the volume.

The subject 1508 (Bahrain) consists of three volumes, IOR/L/PS/10/81-83. The volumes are divided into five parts, with parts 1 and 2 comprising one volume each, and parts 3, 4, and 5 comprising the third volume.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence commences at the inside front cover with 1 and terminates at the inside back cover with 262; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. A previous foliation sequence, which is also circled, has been superseded and therefore crossed out.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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File 1508/1905 Pt 1 'Bahrain: situation; disurbances (1904-1905); Sheikh Ali's surrender; Question of Administration Reforms (Customs etc)' [‎41v] (87/531), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/81, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 15 October 2019]

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