James Richardson Logan

James Richardson Logan (b. 10 April 1819, Berwickshire, Scotland1–d. 20 October 1869, Penang, Malaya2) was the founder and editor of the Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia (JIAEA).3 He was one of the key advocates for freedom from Indian rule; his efforts paid off in 1867 when the Straits Settlements was transferred to the Colonial Office in London.4

Early life
Logan was educated at the Academy of Dunse, where he completed his pupillage under a cousin with the same name who was a barrister.5 After completing his studies at the academy, Logan took up the invitation of Daniel Logan, a cousin in Bengal, India, to participate in indigo planting.6 Shortly thereafter in February 1839, he left for Penang with his brother to join a Scottish schoolmate, Forbes Scott Brown, to practise law.7 He was, however, unable to proceed with the plan as then Governor George Bonham had abolished the Bar in the Straits Settlements. Nevertheless, with his credentials and support from both local and European residents in Penang, Logan was accepted as a member of the Straits Bar. Originally trained in Scottish law, he worked hard to master English law in order to practise in Penang.8

As a lawyer, Logan was known for supporting the rights of natives. He represented an Indian sireh (betel leaf) farmer in a complaint against the East India Company, and defended the rights of the Chinese in Penang to organise and conduct their traditional festivals.9 Business in Penang, however, began to decline. Logan then headed to Singapore around 1843 to join his brother who had arrived there a year earlier and was practising law. His brother was at the time residing with John Turnbull Thomson, Government Surveyor of the Straits Settlements.10

Key contributions

Logan’s Journal and other works
Logan was recognised for publishing, editing and financing the JIAEA from its first imprint in 1847.11 At the time, the periodicals in circulation were mainly missionary-related publications and the interests were not strictly scientific. Others were written in Dutch, which few Englishmen could read. Even though it was clear that the cost of publishing the JIAEA could not be recovered given the small local market, Logan went ahead to publish its first volume in June 1847.12

In his inaugural address at the founding of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1878, president G. F. Hose credited Logan for inspiring the establishment, noting that Logan’s most enduring and worthy monument was the JIAEA.13 Hose considered the journal a bold enterprise for a single individual to undertake, and was much encouraged by the scientific interest and activity it had helped to promote and brought to light in the newly formed colony.14

The JIAEA was published monthly or at selected intervals until 1859.15 Besides editing, Logan also contributed many articles to the journal, which soon came to be known as Logan’s Journal.16 His contributions included original research through observations of local life and culture, especially in the fields of geology, geographical exploration and particularly philology.17 Many of the colony’s notable personalities such as John Crawfurd, Robert Little, George Windsor Earl, Thomas Braddell, (Colonel) James Low and John Turnbull Thomson also contributed to the journal.18

Logan is credited for coining the term “Indonesia”. He clarified that the term should refer to a geographical region, rather than an ethnological concept.19 He also excelled in the field of philology, and had studied numerous languages (European and Asian), examined their structure, phonetic expressions and idiomatic use. Many of his other published works were thus focused on vocabularies, grammars and lexicons.20 In 1853, Logan took over the Penang Gazette, and purchased it in 1855. Besides nurturing a pool of contributors, Logan himself contributed many of the paper’s leading stories.21

Together with his brother, Logan campaigned against Indian rule in the Straits Settlements through the press. Their efforts bore fruit when the Straits Settlements became a British crown colony on 1 April 1867, under the direct control of the Colonial Office in London instead of the Calcutta government.22

Library and museum
When the Singapore Library was established in August 1844, the Logans were among its first shareholders.23 They each contributed $30 and a monthly subscription of $2.50.24 As shareholders, the Logans played a role in, among other things, setting the library’s subscription fees and acquiring donations, such as James Brooke’s collection of works, which the library received in 1847.25

The Temenggung of Johor had previously purchased two gold coins found by convict labourers working at the Telok Blangah harbour. Logan was of the view that the coins were not from Johor but likely of Achinese origin, and sought to have them placed in the library’s reading room, which sparked the formation of the museum. On 31 January 1849, Logan was elected a member of the museum committee responsible for framing regulations and procuring objects for the museum.26

In 1878, Logan’s collection of philology books was put up for sale for $520, and the Raffles Library acquired it in January 1880 with government funding. In July 1880, a 45-page catalogue of the collection was printed at a cost of $198 for 600 copies.27 These rare books are today found at the National Library, Singapore.28

Death

Logan returned to Penang in 1853 while his brother remained in Singapore.29 He died on 20 October 1869 in Penang during one of his exploratory journeys due to malaria.30 In memory of Logan, a monument was erected in front of the Supreme Court in Penang by residents of the Straits Settlements.31

Family
Father: Thomas Logan.32

Mother: A cousin of Logan.33
Son: Daniel Logan, who was admitted to the local Bar in 1864 and appointed Crown Prosecutor the following year. He served the government for 31 years, attaining the position of Solicitor-General in 1867.34 He was also vice-president of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.35

Published works

18––: The Languages of the Indian Archipelago I: A System of Classification and Orthography for Comparative Vocabularies.36
1846: The Rocks of Pulo Ubin.37
1847: Prospectus of the Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia.38
1847–55: Ethnology and the Indo-Pacific Islands.39
1847–55: Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia.40
1850: The Ethnology of Eastern Asia.41
1850: The Ethnology of the Indian Archipelago: Embracing Enquiries into the Continental Relations of the Indo-Pacific Islanders.42
1851: Notices of the Geology of the Straits of Singapore.43
1853–69: Pinang Gazette and Straits Chronicle.44
1856–59: Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia (New series).45



Authors

Joshua Chia Yeong Jia and Bonny Tan



References
1. Charles Burton Buckley, An Anecdotal History of Old Times in Singapore (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1984), 379 (Call no. RSING 959.57 BUC-[HIS]); Walter Makepeace, Gilbert E. Brooke and Roland St. J. Braddell, One Hundred Years of Singapore, vol. 1 (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1991), 196. (Call no. RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS])
2. Buckley, Anecdotal History of Old Times, 379; C. M. Turnbull, The Straits Settlements, 1826–67: Indian Presidency to Crown Colony (London: Athlone Press, 1972), 26 (Call no. RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS]); Salma Nasution Khoo, Streets of George Town, Penang (1993), 116–17. (Call no. RSING 915.95113 KHO)
3. Buckley, Anecdotal History of Old Times, 379, 467; G. F. Hose,Inaugural Address of the President,” Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society no. 1 (July 1878): 2 (From BookSG); J. Turnbull Thomson, “A Sketch of the Late James Richardson Logan of Penang and Singapore” Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society no. 7 (June 1881): 78. (From JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website)
4. Khoo, Streets of George Town, Penang, 116–17; Turnbull, Indian Presidency to Crown Colony, 351.
5. Thomson, “Sketch of the Late James Richardson Logan,” 75–76.
6. Thomson, “Sketch of the Late James Richardson Logan,” 76.
7. Buckley, Anecdotal History of Old Times, 379; Thomson, “Sketch of the Late James Richardson Logan,” 76.
8. Thomson, “Sketch of the Late James Richardson Logan,” 76.
9. Khoo, Streets of George Town, Penang, 116–17; Turnbull, Indian Presidency to Crown Colony, 10, 124.
10. Makepeace, Brooke and Braddell, One Hundred Years of Singapore, 196; Thomson, “Sketch of the Late James Richardson Logan,” 77.
11. Buckley, Anecdotal History of Old Times, 379, 467; Hose,Inaugural Address of the President,” 2; Thomson, “Sketch of the Late James Richardson Logan,” 78.
12. Buckley, Anecdotal History of Old Times, 467.
13. Thomson, “Sketch of the Late James Richardson Logan,” 78; Hose,Inaugural Address of the President,” 2.
14. Hose, “Inaugural Address of the President,” 2; Thomson, “Sketch of the Late James Richardson Logan,” 78.
15. Buckley, Anecdotal History of Old Times, 467–68; Turnbull, Indian Presidency to Crown Colony, 26.
16. Buckley, Anecdotal History of Old Times, 467.
17. Thomson, “Sketch of the Late James Richardson Logan,” 78; Turnbull, Indian Presidency to Crown Colony, 26.
18. Hose, “Inaugural Address of the President,” 4; Makepeace, Brooke and Braddell, One Hundred Years of Singapore, 204, 289, 425.
19. R. E. Elson, The Idea of Indonesia: A History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 1–2. (Call no. RSEA 959.8 ELS)
20. Thomson, “Sketch of the Late James Richardson Logan,” 79, 81.
21. Thomson, “Sketch of the Late James Richardson Logan,” 77; Turnbull, Indian Presidency to Crown Colony, 26, 131.
22. Khoo, Streets of George Town, Penang, 116–17; Turnbull, Indian Presidency to Crown Colony, 351, 377; Edwin Lee, The British as Rulers: Governing Multiracial Singapore 1867–1914 ( Singapore: Singapore University Press, 1991), xv (Call no. RSING 959.57022 LEE-[HIS]); Robert L. Jarman, ed., Annual Reports of the Straits Settlements 1855–1941, vol. 1 (Slough: Archive Editions Limited, 1998), v. (Call no. RSING 959.51 STR-[AR])
23. Buckley, Anecdotal History of Old Times, 419; Makepeace, Brooke and Braddell, One Hundred Years of Singapore, 527.
24. Buckley, Anecdotal History of Old Times, 419; Makepeace, Brooke and Braddell, One Hundred Years of Singapore, 528–31.
26. Makepeace, Brooke and Braddell, One Hundred Years of Singapore, 531–32.
27. Makepeace, Brooke and Braddell, One Hundred Years of Singapore, 551.
28. Betty L. Khoo, “A Jealous Guard on Singapore’s Earliest Books,” New Nation, 8 September 1972, 9. (From NewspaperSG)
29. Buckley, Anecdotal History of Old Times, 379; Makepeace, Brooke and Braddell, One Hundred Years of Singapore, 196.
30. Buckley, Anecdotal History of Old Times, 379; Khoo, Streets of George Town, Penang, 116–17; Makepeace, Brooke and Braddell, One Hundred Years of Singapore, 196; Turnbull, Indian Presidency to Crown Colony, 26.
31. Buckley, Anecdotal History of Old Times, 379; Khoo, Streets of George Town, Penang, 116–17; Makepeace, Brooke and Braddell, One Hundred Years of Singapore, 196.
32. Thomson, “Sketch of the Late James Richardson Logan,” 75.
33. Thomson, “Sketch of the Late James Richardson Logan,” 75.
34. “Hon. D. Logan,” Straits Times, 20 September 1897, 2. (From NewspaperSG)
35. Hose, Inaugural Address of the President,” 3.
36. J. R. Logan, The Languages of the Indian Archipelago I: A System of Classification and Orthography for Comparative Vocabularies (Singapore: G. M. Frederick at the Free Press Office, 18--). (From BookSG)
37. J. R. Logan, The Rocks of Pulo Ubin (Singapore: J. R. Logan, 1846). (From BookSG)
38. J. R. Logan, Prospectus of the Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia (s.n.]: [n.p.], 1847). (From BookSG)
39. J. R. Logan, Ethnology of the Indo-Pacific Islands (Singapore: Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia, 1844–55). (Call no. RRARE 572.99 LOG; microfilm NL5827)
40. J. R. Logan, ed., Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia 1 (1847); J. R. Logan, ed., Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia II (1848); J. R. Logan, ed., Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia III (1849) (From BookSG); J. R. Logan, ed., Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia IV (1850) (Call no. RRARE 950.05 JOU; microfilms NL1890, NL25792); J. R. Logan, ed., Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia V (1851) (Call no. RRARE 950.05 JOU; microfilms NL1890, NL25793); J. R. Logan, ed., Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia VI (1852) (Call no. RRARE 950.05 JOU; microfilms NL1891, NL25794); J. R. Logan, ed., Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia VII (1853) (From BookSG); J. R. Logan, ed., Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia  8 (1854) (Call no. RRARE 950.05 JOU; microfilms NL1891, NL25796); J. R. Logan, ed., Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia 9 (1855) (Call no. RRARE 950.05 JOU; microfilms NL1891, NL25797)
41. J. R. Logan, The Ethnology of East Asia (Singapore: Mission Press, 1850). (From BookSG)
42. J. R. Logan, The Ethnology of the Indian Archipelago: Embracing Enquiries into the Continental Relations of the Indo-Pacific Islanders (Singapore: J. R. Logan, 1850). (From BookSG)
43. J. R. Logan, Notices of the Geology of the Straits of Singapore (London: Geological Society, 1851). (Call no. RCLOS 555.957 LOG)
44. J. R. Logan, ed., Pinang Gazette and Straits Chronicle (1855, 1856, 1863) (microfilms NL1157, NL1775, NL2213); Turnbull, Indian Presidency to Crown Colony, 26, 133; C. M. Turnbull, Dateline Singapore: 150 Years of the Straits Times ( Singapore: Times Editions, 1995), 48. (Call no. RSING 079.5957 TUR)
45. J. R. Logan, ed., Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia 1, new series (1856) (Call no. RRARE 950.05 JOU; microfilms NL1888, NL25734); J. R.  Logan, ed., J. R. (Ed.) (1857). Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia 2, new series (1857) (Call no. RRARE 950.05 JOU; microfilms NL1888, NL7522, NL25735); J. R. Logan, ed., Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia 3, new series (1859). (Call no. RRARE 950.05 JOU; microfilm NL8059)



The information in this article is valid as at October 2020 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Lawyers--Singapore--Biography
Logan, James Richardson, 1819-1869
Periodical editors--Singapore--Biography
Personalities