1823 - Lady Sophia Raffles
The Bungalow on Fort Canning Hill
We have lately built a small bungalow on Singapore Hill [renamed Fort Canning Hill in 1860], where, though the height is inconsiderable, we find a great difference of climate. Nothing can be more interesting and beautiful than the view from this spot. I am happy to say the change has had a very beneficial effect on my health, which has been better during the last fortnight than I have known it for two years before. The tombs of the Malay kings are, however, close at hand; and I have settled that if it is my fate to die here, I shall take my place amongst them: this will, at any rate, be better than leaving one's bones at Bencoolen. If it please God, we still live in the hope of embarking for Europe towards the end of the year.
I am laying out a botanic and experimental garden, and it would delight you to see how rapidly the whole country is coming under cultivation. My residence here has naturally given much confidence, and the extent of the speculations entered into by the Chinese quite astonishes me.
About a month ago, I have had another very severe attack in my head, which nearly proved fatal, and the Doctors were for hurrying me on board ship for Europe without much ceremony. However, as I could not reconcile myself to become food for fishes, I preferred ascending the hill of Singapore, where, if my bones must remain in the East, they would have the honour of mixing with the ashes of the Malayan kings; and the result has been, that instead of dying, I have almost entirely recovered. I have built a very comfortable house, which is sufficient to accommodate my sister's family as well as our own ; and I only wish von were here but for half-an-hour, to enjoy the unequalled beauty and interest of the scene. My house, which one hundred feet front, and fifty deep, was finished in a fortnight from its commencement.
Raffles, Lady Sophia
Memoir of the Life and Public Services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles