Papers of Thomas John Newbold

Scope and Content

Correspondence and Papers written by Captain Thomas John Newbold between 1842 and 1849. The majority of the correspondence is from Newbold to Richard Clarke, the Secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society. The Papers were mainly sent by Newbold to be read at the Society or published in its Journal.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas John Newbold was born in Macclesfield in 1807. He joined the Madras Light Infantry in 1828. Arriving in India in that year, he undertook further study and passed an examination in Hindustani in 1830, and in Persian in 1831. From 1830 to 1835 Newbold was Quartermaster and interpreter to his regiment. He moved to Malacca in 1832, where he actively pursued an interest in the region collecting manuscripts and artefacts. Arriving at the Presidency with a detachment of his corps in August 1835, he was approved as aide-de-camp to Brigadier-General E.W. Wilson and commanded the ceded districts, an appointment he held until 1840. He was appointed Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General for the Division in 1838, and Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General and Postmaster to the Field Force in the ceded districts in 1839.
Newbold left India on leave of absence early in 1840, and visited Gebel Nákas in the peninsula of Mount Sinai in June of that year. He was elected a member of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1841 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1842. Newbold was promoted to the rank of Captain on 12 April 1842, and recalled to India in the following May. Arriving at Madras, he was appointed Assistant to the Commission at Kurnool. He was Assistant to the Agent to the Governor of Fort St. George at Kurnool and Bunganahilly from 1843 to 1848, when he was appointed Assistant to the Resident at Hyderabad. He was permitted to go to Egypt for two years in June 1845. He died at Mahabuleshwar on 29 May 1850.


The material was divided into two series for correspondence and papers, and arranged chronologically.

Access Information

Open. Please contact the archivist. 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 assumed the correspondence was kept at the Society by Richard Clarke and became part of the Society's records. Similarly the Papers were sent to the Society and remained in its custody.

Archivist's Note

The Papers were 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

The majority of the letters were sent to Richard Clarke, Secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society. Therefore they would have been in his custody. The Papers were generally sent by Newbold to be read at the Society.

Related Material

Within our Library Collections are two editions of Newbold's book: "Political and statistical account of the British settlements in the Straits of Malacca". We also have a manuscript, "Tuzuk-i Timuri", supposedly translated from Eastern Turkish by Mir Abu Talib Husaini presented by Newbold.

We also have a lithograph of Newbold dating to c.1845, of unknown artist. This can be seen in our Lecture Theatre.

Full details can be found in our online catalogue.

Also within our Special Collections, within our Maratha documents is a Persian taqwim of the town of Alpoor, S. India (Kunnol District?) by Sayyid Ibrahim 'urf Barc Miyan, A.H. 1200/1844-1845, together with a Persian letter from him to Captain Thomas John Newbold, and an English paper by the latter on this subject, entitled "The Indo-Mahommedan Ephemeris of Alpoor S. India, Lat. 15° 54'N, Long. 78° 12' E for 1260 & 61. A, Hegira and 1766 era of Salwishawa, 1844 & 1845 A.D. with remarks by Capt. Newbold of RS". Read at the Royal Asiatic Society, 7 March, 1846.

Newbold contributed articles to the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society - some of which were the purpose of his correspondence with Clarke. The Journals are all available within our Collections.