Cecil Clementi Smith



 

Cecil Clementi Smith, Sir, (b. 23 December 1840, London - d. 1916) was the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Straits Settlements from 1887 to 1893. A forceful and efficient administrator, he paralysed the power of secret societies which were a menace in Singapore then. In 1889, he established the Queen's Scholarships in Singapore to assist and fund bright local students to further their studies in British universities. When he left Singapore in 1893, he was much loved by the local people who petitioned for the extension of his leadership in office. There were two men known as Sir Cecil Clementi, both having been colonial governors in Singapore. Sir Cecil Clementi, who served between 1929 to 1934, was Sir Cecil Clementi Smith's nephew.

Career
Cecil Clementi Smith joined the colonial service as a cadet in Hong Kong in 1864, where he came to be recognised as an accomplished scholar of Chinese culture. He spent most of his career in Asia, and served from 1878 to 1893 in Singapore as Colonial Secretary of the Straits Settlements (1878-1884), Acting Governor (1884-1885) and finally as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Straits Settlements (1887-1889). Smith also served as Lieutentant-Governor and Colonial Secretary in Ceylon, and Consul-General and High Commissioner for Borneo and Sarawak. In addition, he was also the Honorary Colonel of the Singapore Volunteer Artillery. In his initial years in Singapore, he understudied Frederick Weld, the Governor then.

Contributions
He was determined to get rid of the Secret Societies which prevailed in his days, achieving this through enforcing laws in 1890, setting up the first Societies Ordinance and establishing the Chinese Advisory Board.

He initiated and established the Queen's Scholarships in 1889, which enabled outstanding local students to proceed to British universities, with expenses funded by the British Government. Over the years Queen's scholars returned to Singapore as doctors, lawyers, and teachers. The first two recipients were Dr Lim Boon Keng and Sir Song Ong Siang.

When he left Singapore in 1893, Sir Cecil Clementi Smith was well-liked and widely admired among all communities, especially the Chinese people who petitioned for his continued leadership as Governor for another term. The Chinese, in recognition for his contributions, founded a Sir Cecil Clementi Smith Scholarship for bright Chinese students. Clementi New Town is named after him.

Career
1864 - 1878 : Various offices in Hong Kong, Colonial Treasurer for Hong Kong.
1878 - 1884 : Colonial Secretary for the Straits Settlements.
March 1884 - November 1885 : Acting Governor for the Straits Settlements.

1885 - 1887 : Lieutenant-Governor and Colonial Secretary for Ceylon.
October 1887 - November 1893: Governor and Commander-in-Chief for the Straits Settlements.

Family
Wife: Teresa (Lady Simth), often stricken with ill-health, returned to England for recuperation.
Children: Two daughters.



Author
Vernon Cornelius



References    
Farewell public banquet to H. E. the governor. (1893, August 24). Singapore Free Press, p. 2. Retrieved May 19, 2011, from NewspaperSG.

His Excellency Sir Cecil Clementi Smith. (1893, August 30). The Straits Times, p. 3.

Singapore days of old: A special commemorative history of Singapore published on the 10th anniversary of Singapore Tatler (pp. 48-49). Hong Kong: Illustrated Magazine.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN)

Sir Clementi Smith dead. (1916, February 9). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, p.6.  Retrieved May 19. 2011, from NewspaperSG.

Tate, D. J. M. (1988). A portrait gallery of nineteenth century Singapore (p. 12). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient.
(Call no.: RSING 959.5702 TAT)

Turnbull, C. M. (1989). A History of Singapore: 1819-1988 (pp. 87-88, 101, 116). Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR)


Further Readings
The departure of H. E. the Governor. (1893, August 30). The Straits Times, p. 3.  Retrieved May 19, 2011, from NewspaperSG.

The farewell banquet to H. E. the Governor. (1893, August 24). The Straits Times, pp. 2-3.  Retrieved May 19, 2011, from NewspaperSG.


List of Images
Farewell public banquet to H. E. the governor. (1893, August 24). Singapore Free Press, p. 2. Retrieved May 19, 2011, from NewspaperSG.
A profile drawing of Sir Cecil Clementi in full garb.

Tate, D. J. M. (1988). A portrait gallery of nineteenth century Singapore (p. 12). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient.
(Call no.: RSING 959.5702 TAT)
A drawing of Sir Cecil Clementi. 



The information in this article is valid as at 2011 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Governors--Singapore--Biography
Colonial administrators
Colonial administrators--Singapore--Biography
Clementi Smith, Cecil, Sir, 1860-1916
History>>Asia>>Southeast Asia>>Singapore
Law and government>>Public administration
Personalities>>Biographies>>Colonial Administrators

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