Sir Andrew Clarke
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Sir Andrew Clarke (Lieutenant-General) (b. 27 July 1824, Southsea, Hampshire, England - d. 29 March 1902, Bath, England) was the second Governor of the Straits Settlements, serving between 4 November 1873 to 7 May 1875. Sir Andrew Clarke was known for signing the famous Pangkor Treaty in 1874, which established British indirect rule over the Malayan States. In that same year, he successfully enforced a check on the abuse of coolies with the support of the Chinese and European merchants. Clarke Quay is named after him.
Clarke was the eldest of the four sons of Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Clarke, the Governor of West Australia. His early years were spent in St. Lucia and Western Australia. Educated at King's school, Canterbury, and Portora School at Enniskillen, he entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and obtained his commission as the Second Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in 1844.
Clarke began his career under his father's supervision, in Western Australia, but was soon transferred to serve as secretary to Sir William Denison, Governor of British colonies of Tasmania, and New South Wales. After fighting in the Maori War in the late 1840s, he returned as Surveyor-general of Victoria.
However, he is remembered as one of the ablest and most experienced public servants under the colonial government. He served in several capacities in various parts of the world including the Gold Coast (now Ghana), Australia and New Zealand, Eygpt, India. He maintained great friendship throughout his life with King Chulalongkorn of Siam whom he met when he was sent to Siam to settle a political dispute.
His illustrative career is well-documented in Colonel R. H. Vetch's biography, Life of Lieut-General the Hon. Sir Andrew Clarke, which describes the various positions he held including;Director of Engineering and Architectural Works at the Admiralty; Director of British North Borneo Company; and Viceroy's Council as head of the public works. He also attempted to enter politics, succeeding in becoming a representative of South Melbourne but not venturing beyond this despite several tries in elections.
1854 : As surveyor-general of Victoria, he helped to draw up the constitution. He also introduced the Additional Municipal Authorities Bill in Victoria which is even now known as the Clarke's Act.
1855 - 1857 : Minister of Public Lands in Victoria.
1864 : Director of works for the British Navy where he saw to improvements in naval arsenals around England and improved fortification at various colonial sites.
Jul 1864 : Published a well-known report about the Gold Coast (now Ghana).
Nov 1873 : Sent to Singapore as the Governor of Straits Settlements by Lord Kimberley to study the prospect of appointing British advisors in the Malay sates and to find ways to restore peace and order.
1873 : Honoured with the Order of St. Michael and St. George.
1874 : Declared the Botanic Gardens open.
1875 - 1880 : Appointed Minister of Public Works in India.
1882 - 1886 : Appointed Commandant at Chatham and then Inspector-General of Fortifications. As Inspector-General of Fortifications, his proposals that the Suez Canal be widened and that the British take a more active control of the Suez Canal were recognised and acted upon.
1885 : Received the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St George.
1888 : Made the honorary secretary of the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition. He was also involved in the construction of the Royal Exhibition Building where the exhibition was to be held. The Royal Exhibition Building is now part of the Museum Victoria, Australia.
He was also the founder and first President of Philosophical Society in Australia.
In November 1873, Sir Andrew Clarke was sent to Singapore as the Governor of Straits Settlements by Lord Kimberley to study the prospect of appointing British advisors for the Malayan States and to find ways to restore peace and order. Despite being in office for only 18 months, he played a crucial role in reversing the British policy of non-intervention in the Malay States. He proved instrumental in reversing the British policy of non-interference in the Malay states by signing the Pangkor treaty. When Sultan Abdullah of Perak approached Clarke to settle succession disputes, Clarke grabbed the opportunity to gather all concerned parties including the disputing Chinese factions to agree to a treaty which came to be known as the Pangkor Treaty. The Pangkor treaty came into effect on 20 January 1874, leading to the appointment of a British resident in Perak. This was a monumental event in the history of Malaya for it altered the British relationship with the Malay states forever. Sir Andrew Clarke had struck on an excellent formula to bring the Malay States under British rule. The same formula was used to effect similar arrangements with other Malay States. He placed British advisors in Perak, Selangor and Sungei Ujong within a year. Interestingly, it was his decision to appoint James Birch as Perak's First Resident. Birch unfortunately, was later murdered.
Protection of the Chinese and the Coolies
Clarke increased the powers of the Chinese Interpreter to the Government, W. A. Pickering, and changed his title to Protector of the Chinese so as to facilitate his work with the Chinese Secret Societies. Clarke ordered an inquiry into the abuse of coolies in Province Wellesley. In 1874, he enforced a check on the abuse of coolies with stricter government supervision and regulation of coolie labour.
Raffles Library and Museum
In 1874, the Singapore Library was, on the suggestion of Clarke, renamed Raffles Library and Museum.
Bust of Sir Andrew Clarke
In 1887, Mr. Edward Onslow Ford sculpted the bust of Sir Andrew Clarke in aluminium bronze, which was displayed at Centennial International Exhibition at Melbourne (1880-1889). It was placed in the Singapore Club and the Chamber of Commerce in 1928 but later was moved to the Victoria Memorial Hall after World War II.
He left the Straits Settlements for a new appointment as a member of the Council of the Viceroy of India in May 1875 and was succeeded by Major-General Sir William Francis Drummond Jervois. He passed way on his seventy-eighth year and was buried in Bath, England.
Father: Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Clarke, appointed Governor of Western Australia but died soon afterwards (b.1793 - d.11 February 1847, Western Australia).
Mother: Frances Jackson, nee Lardner.
Wife: Mary Margaret Mackillop (m. on 17 September 186 - d. 8 November 1895)
Daughter: Elinor Mary de Winton Clarke (b.12 June 1880 )
Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore (p. 55). Singapore: Who's Who Publications.
(Call no.: RSING 959.5 DUN)
Kratoska, P. H. (Ed.). (2001). Empire-building during the nineteenth century. South East Asia, colonial history (Vol. 2, pp. 256-258). New York: Routledge.
(Call no.: RSING 959 SOU)
Knowles, M. I. (1935). The expansion of British influence in the Malay Peninsula, 1867- 1885: A study in nineteenth century imperialist (pp. 75-119). Madison: University of Wisconsin.
(Call no.: RSING 959.51033 KNO)
Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. St. J. (Eds.). (1991). One hundred years of Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE)
Mulliner, K. ( 1991). Historical dictionary of Singapore (p. 43). Metuchen N J: Scarecrow Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959. 57003 MUL )
Ramachandra, S. (1961). Singapore landmarks past and present (pp. 48-49). Singapore: D Moore: Eastern Universities Press.
(Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 RAM)
Samuel, D. S. (1991). Singapore's heritage through places of historical interest (pp. 13 -14). Singapore: Elixir Consultancy Service.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 SAM)
Vetch, R. H. (Ed.). (1905). Life of Lieut-General the Hon.Sir Andrew Clarke (pp. 48, 82, 94, 125-126, 155, 176, & 284). London: J. Murray.
(Call no.: RCLOS 959 503 VET)
Wright, A., & Cartwright, H. A. (Eds.). (1989). Twentieth century impressions of British Malaya: Its history, people, commerce, industries and resources (pp. 100-102). Singapore: G. Brash.
(Call no.: RSING 959.5 TWE)
Wright, A., & Cartwright, H. A. (Eds.). (1908). Twentieth century impressions of British Malaya: Its history, people, commerce, industries and resource (p. 242). Singapore: G. Brash.
(Call No.: RSING 959.5 TWE)
Singapore days of old: A special commemorative history of Singapore published on the 10th anniversary of Singapore Tatler (pp. 48-49). (1992). Hong Kong: Illustrated Magazine.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN)
Xie, S. (1988). Siam and the British, 1874-75: Sir Andrew Clarke and the front palace crisis. Thailand : Thammasat University Press.
(Call no.: R 959.3035 XIE)
Project Gutenberg of Australia. (2004). Dictionary of Australian biography. Retrieved January 22, 2005, from
The information in this article is valid as at 1997 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.
Clarke, Andrew, Sir, 1824-1902