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Sir Hugh Clifford GCMG GBE
Born on 4 March 1886 Hugh Charles Clifford came from a distinguished family of English aristocrats and military men. With his father being Major-General Sir Henry Hugh Clifford, young Hugh was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps, but with the assistance of a relative, Sir Frederick Weld, the then Governor of the Straits Settlements he joined the Civil Service in the Straits Settlements. Soon he found himself, at the age of 17, as a cadet in Perak. It was 1883, less than 10 years after the signing of the Pangkor Treaty. Coincidentally his uncle, Hugh Low (later Sir Hugh Low), at the time an administrator in Labuan, was to become the third Resident of Perak just four years later, in 1887.
Like most British Government administrators at the time he soon learned Malay and got to understand the ways of the local people. In 1887 he became the government representative for Pahang, an isolated posting which lasted two years before he was re-appointed. In 1896 he became the Resident of Pahang and apart from a short diversion as governor of North Borneo and Labuan, remained there until 1903. Posts as Colonial Secretary in Trinidad, and Governor successively of Ceylon, the Gold Coast, and Nigeria followed and in 1909 he was knighted. He returned to Malaya as Governor of the Straits Settlements and High Commissioner of the Federated Malay States in 1927, but he was not in good health and retired after only two years in the post, in 1929. He was succeeded by Sir Cecil Clementi in 1930.
Hugh Clifford was the author of many essays, stories, and novels about Malaya which were published from 1896 onwards and he continued to write about the country after his retirement showing a good understanding of the people here. He passed away in England on 18 December 1941.
To read more about Sir Francis Weld, click here.
To read more about The Pangkor Treaty / Pangkor Engagement, click here.
To read more about Sir Hugh Low, click here.
To read more about Sir Cecil Clementi, click here.