Robert Swinhoe

1836–77

Diplomat and ornithologist. Attached to the British consulate in Hong Kong, 1854; in Amoy (Xiamen), China, 1855. British vice-consul, Formosa (Taiwan), 1860–5; consul, 1865–73. Acting consul, Amoy, 1865–71; Ning-po (Ningbo), 1871–3; Chefoo (Yantai), 1873. Consul, Ning-po, 1873–5. Suffered two paralytic strokes, probably as a result of syphilis, shortly after becoming acting consul at Ning-po. Returned to China in 1873 after two years’ sick leave; suffered a further stroke after becoming consul of Ning-po and returned to England. Retired in 1875 due to ill health. Collected plants and animals in Eastern Asia; wrote ornithological and zoological papers. FRS 1876.

Sources: Foreign Office list 1877, P. B. Hall 1987, Coates 1988, ODNB. (See the bibliography for full references to sources)