Frank Athelstane Swettenham
Oil painting of Swettenham by John Singer Sargent
|King of Arms of the Order of St Michael and St George|
|Preceded by||Sir Montagu Ommanney|
|Succeeded by||Sir William Weigall|
|15th Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Straits Settlements|
5 November 1901 –16 April 1904
|Monarch|| Queen Victoria |
|Preceded by||James Alexander Swettenham (acting Governor)|
|Succeeded by||Sir John Anderson|
|Resident-General of the Federated Malay States|
1 July 1896 –4 November 1901
|Preceded by||Newly Created|
|Succeeded by||William Hood Treacher|
|5th British Resident of Perak|
1 June 1889 –30 June 1896
|Preceded by||Hugh Low|
|Succeeded by||William Hood Treacher|
|3rd British Resident of Selangor|
September 1882 –March 1884
|Preceded by||William Bloomfield Douglas|
|Succeeded by||John Pickersgill Rodger|
|2nd British Resident of Perak|
5 November 1875 –March 1876
|Preceded by||James W.W. Birch|
|Succeeded by||James G. Davidson|
|Born||28 March 1850|
|Died||11 June 1946 96) (aged|
Constance Sydney Holmes (Sydney Swettenham)
(m. 1878;div. 1938)
Vera Seton Guthrie(m. 1939–1946)
|Residence||King's House, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
Sir Frank Athelstane Swettenham(28 March 1850 – 11 June 1946) was a British colonial administrator who became the first Resident general of the Federated Malay States, which brought the Malay states of Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang together under the administration of a Resident-General based in Kuala Lumpur. He served from 1 July 1896 to 4 November 1901. He was also an amateur painter, photographer and antique collector.
He was born in Belper, Derbyshire, the son of attorney James Oldham Swettenham,and Charlotte Elizabeth Carr and was educated at the Dollar Academy in Scotland and St Peter's School, York. He was a descendant of Mathew Swetenham, Henry IV's bow bearer, and the younger brother of the colonial administrator Sir James Alexander Swettenham.
He was one of close to forty former British Empire officials to oppose the Malayan Union.
Swettenham co-authored a A Dictionary of the Malay Language with Hugh Clifford. The dictionary, which was published in stages between 1894 and 1902, was abandoned after the letter 'G' as by then it had been made redundant by the publication of R.J. Wilkinson's A Malay English Dictionary.
He also published four books: Malay Sketches, Unaddressed Letters, Also & Perhaps and Arabella in Africa, the last being illustrated by the famous mural painter and illustrator, Rex Whistler. The book was Whistler's first official commission.
Swettenham was a British colonial official in British Malaya, who was famous as highly influential in shaping British policy and the structure of British administration in the Malay Peninsula.
In 1871 Swettenham was first sent to Singapore as a cadet in the civil service of the Straits Settlements (Singapore, Malacca, and Penang Island). He learned the Malay language and played a major role as British-Malay intermediary in the events surrounding British intervention in the peninsular Malay states in the 1870s.
He was a member of the Commission for the Pacification of Larut set up following the signing of the Pangkor Treaty of 1874 and he served alongside John Frederick Adolphus McNair, and Chinese Kapitan Chung Keng Quee and Chin Seng Yam. The Commission was successful in freeing many women taken as captives during the Larut Wars (1862–73), getting stockades dismantled and getting the tin mining business going again.
More than a decade later, in 1882, he was appointed as resident (adviser) to the Malay state of Selangor. In Selangor office, the development of coffee and tobacco estates had successfully promoted by him, while in the meantime, helped boost tin earnings by constructing a railway from Kuala Lumpur (it was capital of Selangor at that time), to the port of Klang, which was later named Port Swettenham in his honour.
He attended the federation, along with the title of resident-general after he secured an agreement of federation from the states of Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, and Pahang in 1895, when he was a resident of Perak state. In 1897 he was knighted by Queen Victoria, and in October 1901, three years before his retirement, he was appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Straits Settlements.
Swettenham had long been critical of the influence of Siam in the northern Malay states of Kelantan and Trengganu, which had traditionally recognised the suzerainty of Siam by sending a tribute of a golden flower to the King of Siam every three years. After his appointment as Governor of the Straits Settlements, he attempted to negotiate with Siam for greater British influence over the affairs of these states. Siam reluctantly agreed to appoint British advisors, but only on the condition that they were appointed by Bangkok, not by the Foreign Office as he had hoped. However, the process had been initiated whereby these two states and eventually Kedah would eventually accept British Residents. Swettenham was disappointed in his ultimate goal of bringing the southern Thai region of Patani under British control.
While on home leave in England in the summer of 1877, Swettenham met and became engaged to Constance Sydney Holmes (b. 1858), daughter of Cecil Frederick Holmes, a housemaster at Harrow School. They married in England in February 1878 and returned together to Singapore, where the nineteen-year old Sydney Swettenham attempted to come to terms with her new role as the wife of a colonial official. Their marriage, which was strained from the beginning and marked by long periods of separation, lasted until 1938, when Frank Swettenham successfully sued for divorce on the grounds of his wife's insanity.
Swettenham became friends with Gertrude Bell when she visited Singapore in 1903 and maintained a correspondence with her until 1909.They are thought to have had a "brief but passionate affair"after his retirement to England.
Frank Swettenham remarried at the age of 89, this time to Vera Seton Guthrie (1890–1970) on 22 June 1939, daughter of John Gordon, a successful merchant, and widow of John Neil Guthrie, who had been killed in action in France during World War I.
While in India in 1883 preparing for the Colonial Exhibition in Calcutta, Swettenham met and had a child with an Anglo-Indian woman from Bangalore (known only as Miss Good). To avoid a scandal, the mother of Swettenham's son was married to an English clerk in the Perak civil service, Walter McKnight Young, and his son was raised as Walter Aynsley Young.
A number of places and roads in Malaysia and Singapore were named after Swettenham, including Swettenham Pier in George Town, Penang Islandand Swettenham Road (near the Botanic Gardens) in Singapore.
Before 1972, Port Klang in Selangor was known as Port Swettenham.
Corresp: Actions of Perak Expeditionary Force post-murder of Birch
The Straits Settlements were a group of British territories located in Southeast and East Asia. Originally established in 1826 as part of the territories controlled by the British East India Company, the Straits Settlements came under direct British control as a Crown colony on 1 April 1867. In 1946, following the end of the Second World War and the Japanese occupation, the colony was dissolved as part of the Britain's reorganisation of its dependencies in the area.
The Federated Malay States (FMS) was a federation of four protected states in the Malay Peninsula—Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang—established by the British government in 1895, which lasted until 1946, when they, together with two of the former Straits Settlements and the Unfederated Malay States, formed the Malayan Union. Two years later, the Union became the Federation of Malaya, which achieved independence in 1957, and finally Malaysia in 1963 with the inclusion of North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore.
Port Klang is a town and the main gateway by sea into Malaysia. Known during colonial times as Port Swettenham but renamed Port Klang in July 1972, it is the largest port in the country. It is located about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) southwest of the town of Klang, and 38 kilometres (24 mi) southwest of Kuala Lumpur.
The Pangkor Treaty of 1874 was a treaty signed between Great Britain and the Sultan of Perak. Signed on 20 January 1874, on HMS Pluto, off the coast of Perak. The treaty is significant in the history of the Malay states as it legitimised British control of the Malay rulers and paved the way for British imperialism in Malaya. It is the result of a multi-day conference organized by Andrew Clarke, the Governor of the Straits Settlements to solve two problems: (a) the Larut War; and (b) Sultanship in Perak.
James Wheeler Woodford Birch, commonly known as J. W. W. Birch was a British colonial official who was assassinated in the Malay state of Perak in 1875, an event that led to the outbreak of the Perak War and ultimately to the extension of British political influence over the Malay Peninsula.
Sir Hugh Low, was a British colonial administrator and naturalist. After a long residence in various colonial roles in Labuan, he became the first successful British administrator in the Malay Peninsula where he made the first trials of Hevea rubber in the region. He is often considered the first successful British administrator in the Malay Peninsula, whose methods became models for subsequent British colonial operation in the entire South East Asia Region.
The term "British Malaya" loosely describes a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the island of Singapore that were brought under British hegemony or control between the 18th and the 20th centuries. Unlike the term "British India", which excludes the Indian princely states, British Malaya is often used to refer to the Federated and Unfederated Malay States, which were British protectorates with their own local rulers, as well as the Straits Settlements, which were under the sovereignty and direct rule of the British Crown, after a period of control by the East India Company.
Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Clarke, was a British soldier and governor, as well as a surveyor and politician in Australia.
The Larut Wars were a series of four wars started in July 1861 and ended with the signing of the Pangkor Treaty of 1874. The conflict was fought among local Chinese secret societies over the control of mining areas in Perak which later involved rivalry between Raja Abdullah and Ngah Ibrahim, making it a war of succession.
Sir Hugh Charles Clifford, was a British colonial administrator.
Sir Richard Olaf Winstedt, or more commonly R. O. Winstedt, was an English Orientalist and colonial administrator with expertise in British Malaya.
John Frederick Adolphus McNair was a British Indian and colonial official.
Sir William George Maxwell was a British colonial administrator in British Malaya and the Straits Settlements.
The Battle of Kuala Lumpur was a battle between Japanese invasion forces and the British forces in Kuala Lumpur, then capital of the-Federated Malay States, a British protectorate.
Arthur Benison Hubback was an English architect and soldier who designed several important buildings in British Malaya. He was active in sports, especially football and cricket. Hubback was promoted to brigadier general during his service in the British Army.
Emily or Emma Sadka was an Iraqi-Singaporean historian and researcher specialising in the Political History of the Malayan region, which she taught at the University of Malaya (Singapore) and in Australian universities.
Constance Sydney Holmes, usually known as Sydney Swettenham, was the first wife of British colonial official Frank Swettenham, the first Resident-General of the Federated Malay States.
J.M. Gullick was a British Orientalist who is chiefly remembered for his ground-breaking contributions to the study of pre-colonial and early colonial Malay society, Indigenous Political Systems of Western Malaya (1958), Malay Society in the Late Nineteenth Century: The Beginnings of Change (1987) and Rulers and Residents: Influence and Power in the Malay States 1870–1920 (1992).
Stanley Wilson Jones was a colonial administrator. He was a cadet of Malayan Civil Service in 1911 and spent his civil service career in Federated Malay States and Straits Settlements. He was British Resident of Selangor and Colonial Secretary of Straits Settlements.
| Wikisource has original works written by or about:|
James W. W. Birch
| British Resident of Perak |
James G. Davidson
William Bloomfield Douglas
| British Resident of Selangor |
John Pickersgill Rodger
| British Resident of Perak |
William Hood Treacher
|New title|| Resident-General of the Federated Malay States |
William Hood Treacher
James Alexander Swettenham (acting)
| Governor of the Straits Settlements |
Sir John Anderson
Sir Montagu Ommanney
| King of Arms of the|
Order of St Michael and St George
Sir William Weigall