|Sir 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|
|Resident-General of the Federated Malay States|
|Succeeded by||William Hood Treacher|
|Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Straits Settlements|
|2nd British Resident of Perak|
November 1875 – March 1876
|Preceded by||James W.W. Birch|
|Succeeded by||James G. Davidson|
|5th British Resident of Perak|
|Preceded by||Hugh Low|
|Succeeded by||William Hood Treacher|
|3rd British Resident of Selangor|
September 1882 – March 1884
|Preceded by||Bloomfield Douglas|
|Succeeded by||John Pickersgill Rodger|
28 March 1850|
Belper, Derbyshire, England
|Died||11 June 1946
|Residence||King's House, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
|Occupation||British colonial official|
Sir Frank Athelstane Swettenham GCMG CH (28 March 1850 – 11 June 1946) was the first Resident General of the Federated Malay States, a British protectorate that is now part of independent Malaysia), which was formed by combining a number of sultanates. He served from 1 July 1896 to 1901. He was also an amateur photographer. He was born in Belper, Derbyshire, Britain.
He created a dictionary "Vocabulary of the English and Malay languages". He also published four books "Malay Sketches", "Unaddressed Letters", "Also & Perhaps" and "Arabella in Africa", the latter being illustrated by the famous mural painter and illustrator, Rex Whistler. The book was Whistler's first official commission.
Career between 1871 and 1901
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 Commader-in-Chief of the Straits Settlements.
Through Swettenham's huge efforts to convince that the British Foreign Office reversed its policy of accepting Siamese control of the northern tier of Malay states. His portrayal of their maladministration under native rulers and his warnings of possible intervention by rival European powers led to British penetration of those states in the early 1900s.
- He was Deputy Commissioner with the Perak Expedition from 1875–1876.
- British Resident of Selangor in 1882, of Perak from 1889–1895.
- Resident-General of the Federated Malay States (now Malaysia) in 1896–1901.
- Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Straits Settlements 1901–1904.
- Chaired the royal commission to enquire into the affairs of Mauritius in 1909.
- He was also joint director of the Official Press Bureau from 1915–1919.
A number of places and roads in Malaysia and Singapore were named after Swettenham, including Swettenham Pier in George Town, Penang Island and Swettenham Road (near the Botanic Gardens) in Singapore.
- Burns, P.L., and Cowan, C.D. ed. (1975), 'Sir Frank Swettenham's Malayan journals 1874-1876', Kuala Lumpur, London: Oxford University Press.
- Clifford, Hugh Charles, and Swettenham, Frank Athelstane (1894), 'A dictionary of the Malay language', Taiping, Perak: Printed for the author's at the Government's printing office.
- Cowan, C.D. ed. (1952), 'Sir Frank Swettenham's Perak journals 1874-1876', 'Journal of the Malayan branch of the Royal Asiatic Society', vol.24, part 4. Singapore: Malaya Publishing House.
- Swettenham, Frank Athelstane (1881), 'Vocabulary of the English and Malay languages'. Singapore: printed at the Government Printing Office.
- Swettenham, Frank Athelstane (1893), 'About Perak'. Singapore: Straits Times Press.
- Swettenham, Frank Athelstane (1895), 'Malay sketches'. London: John Lane.
- Swettenham, Frank Athelstane (1898), 'Unaddressed letters'. London: John Lane.
- Swettenham, Frank Athelstane (1899), 'The real Malay'. London: John Lane.
- Swettenham, Frank Athelstane (1907), 'British Malaya'. London: John Lane.
- Swettenham, Frank Athelstane (1910), 'Report of the Mauritius royal commission, 1909'. HMSO.
- Swettenham, Frank Athelstane (1912), 'Also and perhaps'. London: John Lane.
- Swettenham, Frank Athelstane (1925), 'Arabella in Africa'. London: John Lane.
- Swettenham, Frank Athelstane (1942), 'Footprints in Malaya'. London: Hutchinson.
- Swettenham, Frank Athelstane (1946 ?), 'The future of Malaya'. [S.l.]: [s.n.]
- Swettenham, Frank Athelstane (1967), 'Stories and sketches'. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press.
- Frank Swettenham at biography.com
- The London Gazette: . 1 October 1901.
- Wright, Arnold; Cartwright, H. A. (1908). Twentieth Century Impressions of British Malaya: Its History, People, Commerce, Industries, and Resources. Lloyd Greater Britain Publishing. p. 730.
- "Swettenham Pier". Penang Global Tourism.
- Cambridge University Library 2003: from , dated 10 May 2004.
- Works by or about Frank Swettenham at Internet Archive
- Britannica | Sir Frank Swettenham
- Association of British Malaya
- Carcosa Seri Negara
- Straits Settlements
Sir Montagu Ommanney
|King of Arms of the
Order of St Michael and St George
1925 – 1938
Sir William Weigall
James W. W. Birch
|British Resident of Perak
1875 – 1876
James G. Davidson
|British Resident of Perak
1889 – 1896
William H. Treacher
William Bloomfield Douglas
|British Resident of Selangor
1882 – 1884
John Pickersgill Rodger