Papers of Dr David Richardson

Scope and Content

Dr David Richardson undertook a series of missions whilst Assistant Commissioner in the Tenasserim Provinces (including modern-day Thailand and Myanmar). This material includes some of his journal of his mission to Siam, and a report and letters to E.A. Blundell, Commissioner in the Tenasserim Provinces.

Administrative / Biographical History

Dr David Richardson was a surgeon in the Madras European Regiment who saw military action in the 1824-26 war in Burma when he escorted a group of wounded to safety.. He was seconded as a political officer to the administration of the new British territory of Tenasserim Provinces where he rose to be a senior assistant to the Commissioner, E.A. Blundell, with responsibilities for justice, finance, health, education and civil affairs. Richardson was chosen for his "scientific acquirements" and "mild and conciliatory manner". He was an excellent linguist. Richardson undertook a mission to the King of Siam in Bangkok in 1839. The material within these Papers is mainly to do with this mission.

Richardson married a Tai-speaking woman and died, age 49, in Moulmein. He translated and annotated a comprehensive and influential Buddhist legal text, the dhamathat or the laws of Menoo, which was published in 1847.

Access Information

Open. Please contact the archivist using the email address given here. The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID.

Acquisition Information

It is unknown as these papers came to the Royal Asiatic Society.

Archivist's Note

This material was catalogued by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist, in 2019.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted upon completion of a copyright declaration form, and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Custodial History

These papers are mainly addressed to E.A. Blundell, Commissioner of the Tenasserim Provinces, so it is possible that they were in his possession or were rough drafts belonging to Richardson.

Related Material

Richardson's accounts were printed in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, between 1836-1839, either under his authorship or that of E.A. Blundell. The Society holds copies of these Journals.

Geographical Names