An extremely detailed and comprehensive biography of Raffles with a lot of material from secret archives and personal belongings of Raffles that was not published elsewhere. Covers a lot of administrative and governance details especially of Singapore and Java.
From the preface:
The present biography assuredly does not lack from want of material. The Records in the India Office relating to Sir Stamford Raffles would fill by themselves many goodly volumes. There is besides a fair amount of material published by Raffles. I have examined to the best of my ability a very great number of Papers at the India Office relating to Prince of Wales’s Island, Java, Bencoolen and Singapore, including those still in the Secret Department.
In spite of past gleaners in the field, some of the material here quoted has not, I believe, been previously printed, I have to express my acknowledgments to the authorities of the India Office Library, and to Mr W. Foster, the Honorary Secretary of the Hakluyt Society, for assistance in this connection.
I have had access to a very interesting collection of letters addressed to Mr W Ramsay, Raffles’s great friend, to his sister, Mrs Flint, and to the Duchess of Somerset. These letters were, of course, in the possession of Lady Raffles, but the stern view she took of the position of a biographer caused her to make sparing use of them except on certain occasions. To Canon Raffles Flint I am further indebted for the engraving which forms the frontispiece, for the loan of a volume of confidential letters to Lord Minto, dating from January to March 1812, and finally for some valuable notes on the acquisition of Singapore by Mr W. H. Read, C.M.G., late Dutch Consul at Singapore.
The Rev. R. B. Raffles, who contributed largely to the Life by Mr Boulger, still continues his interest in his celebrated relative. He has most kindly allowed me to inspect a mass of information which he has collected with regard to the scientific side of our hero’s life. The standpoint of this book has not allowed me to make much use of this, but it is to be hoped that at some future date Mr
Raffles will see his way to illustrate this branch of the subject. In addition, I have to thank Mr Raffles for some most valuable and helpful suggestions.
The Rev. J. R. Crawford has kindly furnished me with the copy of a paper relating to the survey of Singapore harbour by his grandfather, Captain Crawford. Sir James Swettenham,. K.C.M.G., most kindly forwarded to Mr Wilson the instructions, quoted in Appendix II., and copies of several letters, including a letter to Colonel Addenbrooke on the acquisition of Singapore.
I have further to express our thanks to Lieutenant-General the Hon. Sir Andrew Clarke, R.E., G.C.M.G., for the use of an interesting paper on Raffles, read before the Royal Institution on May 27, 1898.
In the chapters on Java, I have got much help from the late Dutch historian Deventer’s Daendels — Raffles (translated by G. G. Batten). It is a pity that this brilliant little book appears so little known to English readers. As the appearance of a new biography of Raffles, after the publication of Mr Boulger’s complete Life, may need a word of apology, it may be pointed out that the very different scale of the present volume prevents any idea of competition. It may be added that the present volume was decided upon before the announcement of Mr Boulger’s Life. I have to recognise my obligation to it for some statements of facts in the first two chapters and in Chapters VIII. and XIV. At the same time the new material here employed, and the independent
use of the old material existing in the India Office, may, I trust, justify this book’s existence, especially when it is remembered that no Series of Builders of Greater Britain could be com-
plete with the omission of the name of Raffles.