BURNEY, Henry. 27.2.1792 — at sea 4.3.1845. British Colonial Officer (Captain, 1834 Lieutenant-Colonel) and Diplomat in South-East Asia (Burma). Son of Richard Thomas and Jane B., father was the headmaster of Orphan School at Kidderpore near Calcutta. Attached to the 20th Marine N.I. served at Prince of Wales’ Island (now Penang Island, Malaysia). Because of his knowledge of local conditions and Malay language he was appointed Military Secretary of Penang Government and employed in negotiations with Malay and Thai chiefs. Participated in the first Anglo-Burmese war. In 1825-27 Political Agent to Siamese States, 1827-29 Deputy Commissioner of Tenasserim, 1829-38 Resident at the Court of Ava. In 1842 returned to India. Married 1818 Janet Bannerman, 13 children. In addition to Burmese and Malay, he knew Pāli and collected an unpublished dictionary of the language.
Publications: Several papers on Burma in the JASB, a Historical Review of the Political Relations between British India and Ava. 75 p. Calcutta 1835 (by G. T. Bayfield, revised by H.B.).
– The Burney Papers. Papers relating to Captain H. Burney’s mission to Siam in 1825. Ed. by H. Wachirayān. 1-5. Bangkok 1910-14.
– The Journal of Henry Burney in the Capital of Burma 1830–1832. 121 p. Auckland 1995.
Sources: Buckland, Dictionary (nothing else in Br. Biogr. Arch. 2nd Series); *D.G.E. Hall, H.B.: A political biography. 13+330 p. L. 1974 (cf. JRAS 1976, 182f.); Wikipedia.
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