Dalrymple proposes an EIC settlement on Balambangan
By DALRYMPLE, Alexander , 1770

His Majesty George the Third, King of Great Britain, &c. This Chart of Felicia, and Plan of the Island Balambangan, is humbly presented,...

Asia Southeast Asia
  • Author: DALRYMPLE, Alexander
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Alexander Dalrymple
  • Publication date: Nov.r 30, 1770.
  • Physical description: Engraved chart.
  • Dimensions: 555 by 795mm (21.75 by 31.25 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 17555


A detailed chart of the southern-most part of Palawan Province in the Philippines, Balambangan Island, and the north coast of Borneo, which Dalrymple visited on his second voyage to the Philippines, Borneo and Sulu, in 1762. On Balambangan, he obtained for the EIC a grant of land, and hoped to promote a trading settlement there. He eventually persuaded the EIC of the benefits of his proposal, and in September of 1770 he was appointed leader of the proposed Balambangan settlement. However, his triumph was short-lived, as he was dismissed by the EIC in March of 1771 over disagreements over how the Balambangan should be governed.

“Graduated & Engrav’d by B. Henry. The Hills Etch’d by D. Lerpeniere. The Writing Engraved by W. Whitchurch, Bartholomew Lane Exchange, London”, the chart was included in ‘The East India Pilot: a collection of charts, maps and plans for navigation’, London, 1770; Dalrymple’s rare pilot ‘General Introduction to the Charts and Memoirs’, 1772; and subsequently published in d’Apres de Mannevillette’s ‘Le Neptune Oriental’, distinguished by the addition of the emblem of the Depot de la Marine, and the French price.

The first hydrographer to the British Admiralty, Alexander Dalrymple (1737-1808) is best known for his researches regarding a great Southern Continent, as well as a proponent of the search for the Northwest Passage (thereby influencing Vancouver’s survey). Through family connections, Dalrymple was made a “writer” (the most junior position) for the East India Company and sent to Madras where he arrived in May 1753. He was afforded access to Robert Orme’s library and grew increasingly fascinated with the EIC’s activities in Burma, Indo-China and Borneo. He turned down a promotion so that he might undertake a voyage to the east of his own. ​”In February 1759, Pigot freighted the Cuddalore (Captain George Baker) for Dalrymple ​’to attempt to discover a new route to China through the Molucca Islands and New Guinea’. Dalrymple made three voyages between 1759 and 1764 to the Philippines, Borneo, and Sulu. In the first, based at Canton (Guangzhou), he reconnoitred Borneo, the Philippines, and the coast of Cochin-China. For the second, in the London in 1762, he had James Rennell as companion for a voyage to Sulu and Balambangan, where he had obtained for the company a grant of land. In Madras in 1763 he went through the formality of resignation, confident of reinstatement, to return to London to promote a trading settlement at Balambangan. En route to Canton for passage to England he became provisional deputy governor at Manila for a short period in April 1764, in the aftermath of the treaty of Paris, and he arrived in London in the summer of 1765 …” (ODNB)

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