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INDIA DURING THE RAJ: EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS

Diaries and Related Records Held at the British Library, London

Part 1: Diaries and Related Records Describing Life in India, c.1750-1842

Part 2: Diaries and Related Records Describing Life in India, 1819-1859

Biographical Notes of Diarists - Part 1

Reel 1

Isack Pyke

He was the Captain of the East Indiaman, The Stringer. No other information could be found about him. We include his diary for 1712-1713.

Brigadier-General John Carnac, 1716-1800

He entered the East India Company’s service as Captain in 1758 after serving with the 39th Regiment. He commanded at Patna in 1760 and in 1761 defeated the Delhi Emperor near Bihar. He became Brigadier-General in 1764 and defeated the Marathas in the Doab in 1765. From 1776-1779 he was Member of Council, Bombay and a member of the Superintending Committee on the expedition against Poona in 1778. He was dismissed from the East India Company for his share in the convention of Wadgaon in 1779 and died at Mangalore in November 1800.

Sir John Call, 1st Baronet, 1732-1801

He was born at Fenny Park near Tiverton, the son of John Call. He married Philadelphia Batty in 1772 and had six children. In 1751 he was employed by the East India Company as an engineer to erect defences at Fort St David. From 1752-1757 he served as Engineer in Chief to Lord Clive and in 1757 was appointed Chief Engineer for the Madras Presidency. In 1761 he supported Sir Eyre Coote at Pondicherry, in 1762 joined with General Caillard at the capture of Vellore and from 1768-1770 served as a member of the Madras Executive Council.

John Pybus

He was an East India Company servant in Madras from 1742-1768 and took part in a mission to the King of Kandy. No other information could be found about him. We include his diary for 1762.

George Kinloch, d 1768

The son of David and Isabel of Kilrie, in 1764 he was given a Commission as Captain on the Madras establishment but resigned it after the “Batta Mutiny” in May 1766. His Commission was restored and in 1767 he commanded an expedition to Nepal, the objective being to assist the Raja of Katmandu to repel the Gurkha invasion from Western Nepal.

Reels 2-4

George Paterson, 1734-1817

He was Secretary to Rear Admiral Sir John Lindsay and Admiral Sir Robert Harland who were Naval Commanders-in-Chief from 1769-1771 and 1771-1774 respectively. He was given the task of negotiating with the Nawab of the Carnatic regarding the Nawab’s debts. He travelled extensively in southern India and was involved in Madras politics.

Reel 5

Capt (later Lt Col) Allen Macpherson, 1740-1816

He was born in Blairgowrie, the son of William and Anna Macpherson. Before serving in India he served in the Black Watch and fought in North America taking part in the capture of Havana in 1762. In India he saw action in the First Mysore War and from 1775-1776 he accompanied Lt Col John Upton (d 1780), British Army, 1757-1763, as Secretary and Persian interpreter on a mission to the Maratha Government. He later became Secretary and interpreter to his kinsman John Macpherson, member of the Bengal Council 1781-1787 and Governor-General of Bengal 1785-1786.

Sir Philip Francis, 1740-1818

He was born in Dublin, the son of Reverend Philip Francis. After various posts in the Civil Service he was appointed a member of the new Supreme Council of the Governor-General of India, Warren Hastings. However he and his colleagues Clavering and Monson opposed Hastings and the other member of the council, Barwell. After Hastings accused him of breach of trust and honour they fought a duel in which Francis was wounded. He left India in 1780, in 1784 became an MP serving for various constituencies, and was instrumental in promoting the impeachment of Hastings on the latter’s return from India. He hoped that he would be appointed Governor-General of Bengal in 1806 and quarrelled with Fox, the leading Whig member of the Ministry when the position was not given him.

Reel 6

Colonel Cromwell Massey, 1742-1845

Colonel Massey served in the Madras Army of the British East India Company and from 1780-1784 was held captive with other British soldiers by Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan at the Fort of Seringapatam after suffering defeat by them and a forced march from Arcot. During his imprisonment in an underground dungeon he kept a diary, written in dark conditions in miniscule but legible writing with ink which he made himself. He was often searched by his captors but the diary was never found. He died in England at the age of 105 and is buried at St Lawrence’s Church, Ramsgate. On the wall of the church is an inscription to his generosity and public service to the city of Ramsgate. His descendant David Massy (the spelling of the name was changed in 1860) has spent forty years researching the history of his ancestor.

Lt Richard Runwa Bowyer

He was 2nd Lt of the Hannibal which was captured by a French squadron under Admiral Suffren in January 1782 and imprisoned by Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan.

Reel 7

Major Sir John Kennaway, 1st Baronet, 1758-1836

He was born in Exeter, the son of William and Frances and married Charlotte James – Amyatt. He served in the Second Mysore War, 1781-1785, was Persian Secretary to Colonel Thomas Deane Pearse, ADC to Lord Cornwallis the Governor-General and the first Resident at Hyderabad from 1788-1794.

Frances, Lady Chambers, 1758-1839, wife of Sir Robert Chambers, 1737-1833

Sir Robert Chambers was born in Newcastle, the son of Robert Chambers. He was appointed in 1774 as second Judge at the Calcutta Supreme Court and in 1791 became Chief Justice. He was a friend of Sir Philip Francis and was one of the judges on the trial of Nanda Kumar for forgery. He died in Paris in 1803. His wife Frances (Fanny) was the only daughter of Joseph Wilton, a celebrated sculptor and foundation member of the Royal Academy. Only in her sixteenth year when she married, she was said by Dr Johnson to be ‘exquisitely beautiful’.

Capt (later Lt General) Charles Reynolds, c.1756-1819

Possibly the son of William Reynolds, baker of Bloomsbury, he was admitted to St Paul’s School in 1769 and arrived in India in 1772 aged about 14 as a cadet in the Bombay Army. He saw service against the Marathas and Tipu Sultan, and surveyed many routes on his own initiative. He was appointed surveyor and in 1785 was deputed to accompany Charles Malet on a mission to the Maratha chief Scindia during which he surveyed the route from Surat to Agra and Delhi. He later rose to be Surveyor-General of Bombay 1796-1807 working mainly on a large scale map of western India, after which he retired to England, married, lived in Portland Place, London, and died at Cheltenham.

Sophia Elizabeth Prosser (d 1835)

She was the wife of Richard Plowden of the Bengal Civil Service. No other information could be found about her. We include her diary for 1787-1789 describing her life in Calcutta and a trip up the Ganges.

Reel 8

Capt (later Sir) Alexander Allan, Baronet, d 1820

He joined the Madras Army in 1780, saw service in the Third Mysore War, 1790-1792, retired in 1804, and later became a Director of the East India Company from 1814-1820.

Major (later Lt General) Alexander Dirom, d 1830

He joined the British Army in 1779, and saw service in the Third Mysore War, 1790-1792, as Deputy Adjutant General.

Francis Buchanan ( or Buchanan-Hamilton), 1762-1829

He was born at Branziet in Perthshire, the son of Thomas Buchanan and Elizabeth Hamilton. He was appointed in 1794 as Assistant Surgeon to the East India Company’s Medical Service and in the same year conducted botanic research in Ava, Pegu and the Andaman Islands. In 1800-1801 he toured South India and in 1802 visited Nepal. From 1803-1805 he was Surgeon to the Governor-General Lord Wellesley. From 1807-1814 he conducted a statistical survey of the Bengal Presidency and from 1814-15 was employed as Superintendent of the Calcutta Botanic Gardens. He retired in 1816 and late in life took the name Buchanan-Hamilton. He published various accounts of his travels in India including, A Journey from Madras through the Countries of Mysore, Canara and Malabar, 1807 and An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal, 1819.

Reel 9

John Ryley

He served in the Bengal Civil Service from 1791-1820 and was Register of the Zillah Court at Jaunpore.

Captain John Budgen

He served in India as ADC to Sir David Baird. No other information could be found about him. We include his diary for 1798-1802 describing his travels in India.

Reel 10

Lt Colonel John Pester, 1778-1856


He was born in Odcombe, Somerset, the son of Emanuel and Peggy Pester. He was posted to India as Ensign in 1800 and took part in operations against zemindars in the Shikohabad district. Between 1803 and 1805 he fought in several actions of the Second Maratha War, including the capture of Dig. In 1815 he was put in charge of the Guide and Intelligence Department during the Third Maratha War. His journal for 1802-1806 was published in London in 1913 under the title War and Sport in India 1802-1806.

Reel 11

Captain Henry Anderson, 1779-1810

He was born in Clapton, Middlesex, the son of William and Ann Grisel. He served in the Second Maratha War and was involved in the capture of Dig and Bharatpur. He saw operations in Oudh in 1808, dying in Nadia, Bengal in 1810.

Lt James Macmurdo, 1785-1820

As an officer in the Bombay Army (1801-1820) he took part in a journey starting in December 1809 from Patri in the north-east frontier of Kathiawar towards the north-west of Gujarat, the object of the journey being to penetrate the desert to Umarkot and the Indus.

George Morris

He was an army veterinary surgeon and served with the Light Dragoons. No other information could be found about him. We include his diary for 1813 describing his voyage to India.

Reel 12

Robert Allan

He was an officer on HMS Salsette. No other information could be found about him. We include his diary for 1813-1816 describing convoy and patrol duties in the Indian Ocean.

Lt John Macleod, 1794-1823

The son of the Reverend Roderick Macleod, Principal of King’s College Aberdeen and Isabella Christie, he was awarded an MA at Aberdeen University in 1810, and during the next two years took a survey course in England as a cadet in the Bombay Engineers. He was employed in the Bombay Revenue Survey 1813-1815, on a survey of the passes into the Deccan 1816, and then as Assistant to the Commissioner in the Deccan. He died at Bushire in 1823.

Reel 13

Mrs M E Doherty

She was the wife of Major Joseph Doherty (d 1820) of the 13th Light Dragoons. No other information could be found about her. We include her diary for 1818-1820 describing the journey to India on board The Windsor, life in Bangalore, the death of her husband and the journey home as far the Cape of Good Hope.

Lt Colonel Henry Rutherfurd, 1802-1874

Born in London and married to Frances Schaw he was an officer in the Bengal Artillery from 1819-1846 during which time he served in the First Burmese War and was Assistant to the Political Agent, Upper Assam. From 1830 to 1833 he was employed in surveying the Assam Boundary.

Reel 14

William Parry Okeden, 1800-1868

He was appointed to the Bengal Civil Service in 1818, arriving in India in 1819. In 1821 he was appointed Assistant to the Judge, Register and Magistrate of the Zillah Court at Murshidabad where he stayed until 1823. Thereafter almost the whole of his career was spent in the Moradabad district where he eventually rose to become Civil and Sessions Judge. He left India in January 1842.

Azubah Clark, d 1826

She was the sister of Hezekiah Clark (1792-1868), Bengal Medical Service, 1822-1855 who compiled Memorial Fragments of Azubah Clark…, 1830.

Reel 15

Lucretia d 1828, wife of Sir Edward West, 1782-1828

Sir Edward West was the son of Balchen West and was appointed to the post of the Recorder of Bombay and then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Bombay from 1823 until his death there in 1828. His judicial career was controversial. He was the champion of the oppressed Indians and spoke out against the practice of extortion by barristers and officers of the court, culminating in a dispute with the Governor, Montstuart Elphinstone. He wrote several treatises on Political Economy. The diaries by his wife, Lady Lucretia West, cover six years of her marriage describing her voyage out to India as new bride, her husband’s legal preoccupations and her family and social life.

Colonel William Anderson, 1804-1869

Born in London, son of Alexander and Christian he served at the siege and capture of Bharatpur. In 1838 he accompanied Sir H Fane to Bombay with experimental guns for camel draught. He fought in the First Afghan War, 1838-1842 and served as Powder Agent at Ichapur, Bengal from 1843 till 1854.

Edward Ward Walter Raleigh, 1802-1865

He served in the Bengal Medical Service from 1826-1846, part of this time as Assistant Surgeon to Lord Amherst, the Governor-General of India. He wrote Idiopathic Dysentery in Europeans in Bengal, 1842.

Reel 16

Hawkins Francis James, 1806-1860, and Lt-Col Henry Curry James, 1817-1866

Hawkins James served in the Bengal Civil Service from 1827 to 1855, while his younger brother served in the Bengal Army from 1835 to his death in 1866.

Reel 17 and 18

Charles Masson, 1800-1853 (James Lewis)

He was an explorer and orientalist born at Aldermanbury, Middlesex, the son of George Lewis and Mary Hopcraft. He married Mary Anne Kilby in 1844 and had two children. Following a brief period of service in the 24th Regiment of Foot in 1822 he joined the East India Company Army serving in the Bengal European Artillery. After seeing action from 1825-1826 at the siege of Bharatpur he deserted from the army in 1827and with the new identity of Charles Masson travelled in Afghanistan collecting ancient coins. In 1835 he was pardoned for his desertion and from 1835-1838 was the Political Agent to the Government at Kabul. He returned to England in 1838. He published several books on his travels including, Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan, and the Punjab, 1842.

Reel 18

Captain Christopher D’Oyley Aplin, 1787-1833

The son of Oliver and Mary he married Julia Dyson Marshall. He served in the Nepal War, 1814-1815 and was involved in the siege and capture of Hathras. In the Third Maratha War he fought in the siege of Mandala. He was appointed as Secretary and Persian interpreter to Major General Dyson Marshall and later fought in the siege and capture of Bharatpur.

William Stephens Dicken, 1804-1861

He served as Surgeon in the Bengal Medical Service from 1829-1861 and was involved in the recapture of Gorakhpur and the final siege and capture of Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny, 1857-1858.

Reel 19

Captain George Edward Westmacott, 1807-1841

He was born in London, the son of George and Ann Westmacott, arriving in India as Ensign in 1823 and being promoted to Captain in 1833. He fought in the siege and capture of Bharatpur, the 1st Afghan War and was killed in action at the recapture of Rikabashi Fort, near Kabul in 1841. He is the author of The Present and Future Prospects of our Indian Empire, 1838.

Reel 20

Mary Fitzgibbon, 1813-1862

She was the wife of Richmond Fitzgibbon (c1805-1871), a veterinary surgeon in the Madras Army from 1824-1861. We include her diaries for 1831-1861.

Lady Florentia Sale, 1790-1853 (and Reel 25)

She was the daughter of George Wynch of the Civil Service and grand-daughter of Alexander Wynch, Governor of Madras, 1775-1776. She married Major General Sir Robert Henry Sale in 1809, was with him in Kabul,1840-1841 and in the disastrous retreat from Kabul in January 1842. She and other women and children were carried off as captives by Akbar Khan as far as Bamian until September 1842 when they bribed the Afghan officers to release them and were rescued by Sir Richmond Shakespeare on September 17th. Lady Sale kept a diary throughout this time published as Journal of the Disasters in Afghanistan, 1843. After her husband’s death in 1845 she remained in India.

Major General Sir Robert Henry Sale, 1782-1845

Son of Colonel Sale he served in the Indian army from 1798, taking part in many engagements including -the Mysore War, 1798-1799, and the first Burmese war, 1824-1826. At the start of the Afghan War, 1838-1842, he commanded the advanced Brigade on its march to Kandahar and Kabul, and was in command of the storming party at the capture of the fortress of Ghazni. In 1839 he became second in command of the British Forces in Afghanistan and thereafter was involved in much heavy fighting including the defence of Jalalabad which he held from Nov 1841 to April 1842 though at one point almost deciding on its evacuation.

Reel 21

Mrs Mary Ann MacFarlan (nee Hogg), 1810-1873

She was the wife of David MacFarlan (1797-1854) who served in the Bengal Civil Service from 1816 until 1847. We include her diary for 1834 of her daily life in Calcutta.

Captain Charles Farquhar Trower, 1811-1846

He was born in Calcutta, the son of Charles and Amelia Catherine. He moved up the ranks of the Bengal Army and then served in the Nizam’s Army from 1836 until his death in 1846. He fought in the First Afghan War in 1842 and died in Mominabad, Hyderabad of cholera in 1846.

Reel 22

John Hallet Batten, 1811-1886

The son of the Reverend Joseph Hallett Batten, Principal of Haileybury College, he was educated at Charterhouse, Haileybury and Trinity College, Cambridge, before appointment to the Bengal Civil Service. He arrived in India in 1829. In 1835 he was Assistant to the Collector and Magistrate at Saharanpur. He eventually rose to become Commissioner of Agra, retiring in 1866.

Reverend George Trevor, 1809-1888

The sixth son of Charles Trevor, a customs officer at Bridgwater, he worked for ten years, 1825-1835, as clerk at East India House in London. In 1832 he matriculated from Magdalene Hall, Oxford, and in 1835 was appointed to an East India Company chaplaincy in Madras which he held until 1845. Thereafter he obtained an honours degree at Oxford, occupied a variety of ecclesiastical appointments in England, and was the author of a number of books on religion and history including India: an historical sketch (1858).

Reels 22 and 23

Charles Theodore Le Bas, 1817-1858

He was a member of the Bengal Civil Service from 1836 to 1858. No other information could be found about him. We include his diary for 1837-1838 of an overland journey to India.

Reel 23

Sir Thomas Townsend Pears, 1809-1892

Son of Rev Dr James Pears, he went to Madras in the East India Company’s Engineers in 1826. He progressed to Superintendent Engineer in 1828, then to Chief Engineer with the Kurnool Force in 1839 and Commanding Engineer in the China War, 1840-1842. He later became Consulting Engineer for railways at Madras and then Chief Engineer in Mysore in 1860. After his retirement from the army he was appointed as Secretary in the Military Department at the India Office, a post he held from 1861-1877.

Reel 24

Frances Eden, 1801-1849, sister of George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland, 1784-1849, Governor-General of India, 1836-1842

Frances (Fanny) was the daughter of William Eden, 1st Baron Auckland and Eleanor Elliot. Her brother George was MP for Woodstock from 1810-1814 and on the death of his father in 1814 passed into the House of Lords. From 1830-1834 he was President of the Board of Trade and Master of the Mint, from 1834-1835 First Lord of the Admiralty and from 1836-1842 was Governor-General of India where he had to deal with serious famines and the 1st Afghan War of 1838-1842. From 1846-1848 he returned to his former post as First Lord of the Admiralty.


Lt General Sir James Outram, 1st Baronet, 1803-1863

Born in Scotland he entered the Indian Army at 16, acted as an Adjutant of a Bombay regiment in 1820 and was employed for some years in Khandesh disciplining the Bhils. He was a Political Agent in Mahi Kanta and in 1838 was attached to the staff of Sir John Keane, commander of the Bombay Army. Outram led the pursuit of Amir Dost Muhammad across the Hindu Kush and took a prominent part in the operations in South Afghanistan. In 1839 he was Political Agent at Hyderabad in Sind and in 1841 in Upper Sind, cultivating a friendship with the Amirs and advocating their cause. He defended the Hyderabad Residency in 1843 against 8,000 Baluchis. He was Resident at Satara in 1845 and at Baroda in 1847 and later Resident at Lucknow in 1854. He was given the command of the Persian war, 1856-1857. In the Indian Mutiny he commanded two divisions of the Bengal Army accompanying the relief column to Lucknow in September 1857. He was Military Member of the Supreme Council from 1858 to 1860. He died in 1863 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Sir Charles Napier described him as “the Bayard of India”.

Reel 25

Emma Walter

She was the wife of Major Edward Walter of the Bombay Army, 1821-1851. No other information could be found about her. We include her diaries for 1838-1850 which describe her voyage to India and travels within India.

Lieutenant Colonel William Anderson, 1803-1858

Born in London to William Anderson he married Amelia Mary Chapman and was posted as Ensign to India in 1823. He fought in the 1st Burma War and the 1st Afghan War and was taken prisoner by Muhammad Akbar Khan during the retreat from Kabul. He saw action at Parwan-dara in 1840 and was Commandant and Superintendent at Sirohi, Rajputana from 1845 until his death in 1858.

Captain Arthur Conolly, 1807-1842

He was born in London, the son of Valentine Conolly and Matilda Dunkin. In 1822 he received a cavalry cadetship and the following year was sent to India as Cornet in the 6th Bengal Native Infantry. He saw action at Bharatpur in 1826 and from 1834-1838 served as Assistant Political Agent in Rajputana. In 1840 as a member of Sir William Macnaghten’s staff at Kabul he was sent as British Envoy to Khiva. In 1841 he was imprisoned in Bokhara with Captain Charles Stoddart and the following year was executed by Amir Nasirulla. Twenty years later his prayer book containing his writings was given to his sister by a foreigner. He published various journal articles and A Journey to the North of India, 1834.

 

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