Cecil Clementi Smith



Cecil Clementi Smith (Sir), (b. 23 December 1840, London – d. 7 February 1916, London)1 was the governor and commander-in-chief of the Straits Settlements from 1887 to 1893.2 A forceful and efficient administrator, he paralysed the power of secret societies that were a menace in Singapore then.3 In 1885, he established the Queen's Scholarship in Singapore to assist and fund bright local students to further their studies in British universities.4 Smith was held in such high regard by the local community that when he left Singapore in 1893, they petitioned for the extension of his period of office.5

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.6 He spent most of his career in Asia and served from 1878 to 1893 in Singapore as colonial secretary of the Straits Settlements (18781884), acting governor (18841885) and finally as governor and commander-in-chief of the Straits Settlements (18871889).7 Smith also served as lieutenant-governor and colonial secretary in Ceylon, as well as consul-general and high commissioner for Borneo and Sarawak.8 He was also the honorary colonel of the Singapore Volunteer Artillery.9


Contributions
Smith was determined to get rid of secret societies, which were rampant then, and achieved this through enforcing laws in 1890, setting up the first Societies Ordinance and establishing the Chinese Advisory Board.10

He initiated and established the Queen's Scholarships in 1885, which enabled outstanding local students to attend British universities, funded by the British Government. Over the years, Queen's scholars returned to Singapore as doctors, lawyers and teachers. The two such recipients were Lim Boon Keng (Dr) and Song Ong Siang (Sir).11

Cecil Clementi Smith was well-liked and widely admired among all communities, especially the Chinese who petitioned for his continued leadership as governor for another term following his retirement. In recognition for his contributions, the Chinese founded a Sir Cecil Clementi Smith Scholarship for bright Chinese students.12 Clementi New Town and are named after him.13

Career
1864–1878: Served in various offices in Hong Kong, including Colonial Treasurer.14
1878–1884: Colonial Secretary for the Straits Settlements.15
1884–1885: Acting Governor for the Straits Settlements.16
1885–1887: Lieutenant-Governor and Colonial Secretary for Ceylon.17
1887–1893: Governor and Commander-in-Chief for the Straits Settlements.18



Author
Vernon Cornelius



References
1. Sir Clementi Smith dead. (1916, February 9). The Singapore Free Press, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Farewell public banquet to H. E. the governor. (1893, August 24). The Singapore Free Press, p. 2; T.F. Hwang takes you down memory lane. (1989, June 3). The Straits Times, p. 26; Sir Clementi Smith dead. (1916, February 9). The Singapore Free Press, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 103. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS])
4. Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. (1991). One hundred years of Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 369, 471–472. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS])
5. His Excellency Sir Cecil Clementi Smith. (1893, September 5). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 103. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS])
6. Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 102. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS]); Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. (1991). One hundred years of Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 110. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS])
7. Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 102. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS]); Sir Clementi Smith dead. (1916, February 9). The Singapore Free Pres, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Sir Clementi Smith dead. (1916, February 9). The Singapore Free Press, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. (1991). One hundred years of Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 111. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS]); Sir Clementi Smith dead. (1916, February 9). The Singapore Free Press, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 103. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS]); Blythe, W. (1969). The impact of Chinese secret societies in Malaya: A historical study. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, p. 233. (Call no.: RSEA 366.09595 BLY)
11. Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. (1991). One hundred years of Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 369, 471–472. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS]); The queen's scholars since 1885 in Malaya. (1948, November 16). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. The Singapore Chinese address to H. E. the Governor. (1893, August 30). The Straits Times, p. 3; The farewell banquet to H.E. the Governor. (1893, August 24). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B., (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 67, 85. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
14. Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 102. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS]); Sir Clementi Smith dead. (1916, February 9). The Singapore Free Press, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Sir Clementi Smith dead. (1916, February 9). The Singapore Free Press, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 103. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS]); Farewell public banquet to H. E. the governor. (1893, August 24). The Singapore Free Press, p. 2; Government gazette extraordinary, 29th March. (1884, March 31). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Sir Clementi Smith dead. (1916, February 9). The Singapore Free Press, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. (1991). One hundred years of Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 107. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS]); Sir Clementi Smith dead. (1916, February 9). The Singapore Free Press, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



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