Maxwell: books, journals, roads and a hill in Taiping

Sir William Edward Maxwell (Source: Wikipedia)

Sir William Edward Maxwell (Source: Wikipedia)

If you have been following SembangKuala, you may have come across references made to publications in the Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society written by W.E. Maxwell, sometimes in the same breath as the likes of R.J. Wilkinson and R.O. Winstedt.

Sir William Edward Maxwell, KCMG was born 5 August 1846 and a Barrister-at-Law of the Inner Temple in London. He was a high ranking colonial officer based in the Straits Settlements, becoming the Lieutenant-Governor of Malacca in 1870, and later became Acting Resident Councillor of Penang from 1887-1889. He was, however, at one point Assistant Resident of Perak to Sir Hugh Low, during which Maxwell wrote A Manual of the Malay Language (1881). For one year, he was Acting Governor of the Straits Settlements between 1893-4. His official residence as Governor was in Singapore, known as Government House (now the Istana, the official residence of the President of Singapore).

Sir William had extensively studied the manuscript of Misa Melayu before it was translated to English by R.O. Winstedt. Amongst his contribution to the JMBRAS included A History of Perak (co-authors Wilkinson and Winstedt) and Notes and Queries of the MBRAS. He died at the age of 51 on 14 December 1897 at sea. Maxwell Roads in Penang and Singapore were named after him, but not the hill in Taiping (Bukit Larut).

Sir William George Maxwell, Chief Secretary of the FMS 1921-6. (Source: Wikipedia)

That honour of having a hill named after him fell on William George Maxwell, who was the eldest son of W.E. Maxwell.

Sir George Maxwell, KBE was born in Singapore in 1871, a naturalist and, like his father before him, a colonial administrator. He started as a junior officer for the Perak Government in 1891 and held several civil service posts which included Acting Collector of Land Revenue and Acting Senior Magistrate. He was DO of Dinding before becoming British Resident of Perak from 1919 to 1921. He was then Chief Secretary (previously known as Resident-General) of the FMS from 1921 to 1926, during which he opened Sultan Idris Teaching College in Tanjong Malim, the first ever institution of higher learning in the Federated Malay States. Sir George Maxwell died in 1959, aged 88. He also had written a book, in keeping with his love of nature, titled In Malay Forests.

1. Wikipedia
2. Penang Travel Tips: Governors of the Straits Settlements

1 thought on “Maxwell: books, journals, roads and a hill in Taiping

  1. Pingback: A query about the Perak regalia by Colonel Low, 1850 « SembangKuala BLOG

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