Papers of Major-General Thomas Hardwicke

Scope and Content

There is a single item in these Papers. This is the "Abstracts of Meteorolical Diary for the Years 1816, 1817, 1818, 1819. Taken Eight Miles North-East of Fort William Calcutta". This a handwritten journal of daily weather conditions divided into monthly pages giving a general monthly summary, variations of the winds, thermometer, barometer and hygrometer readings, prevailing wind directions and remarks concerning the days' weather patterns. The manuscript is on foolscap sheets bound into a hardcover journal. The book is in fragile conditions, its boards have become separated and some of the pages are only loosely attached into the whole.
Within the book is a loose sheet of paper on which wind calculations have been written.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Hardwicke joined the British East India Company army with the Bengal Artillery in November 1778. He was posted in southern India from 1781 to 1785. He was wounded at Satyamangalam on 13 September 1790 and was posted as a Company Orderly at Bangalore, before moving to Bengal in 1793 to become Adjutant and Quartermaster of Artillery. Hardwicke rose to become Major-General in 1819. He resigned from the command of the Bengal Artillery in 1823 to return to England and died at The Lodge, Lambeth, on 3 March 1835.

During his military career in India, Hardwicke travelled extensively over the subcontinent. He collected zoological specimens and amassed a large collection of paintings of animals which he employed local artists to make. The Indian artists employed by Hardwicke are unknown, except for one, Goordial, but they were trained and their style was adapted to the demands of technical illustration using watercolours. The collection was bequeathed to the British Museum in 1835 which was later partly moved to the Natural History Museum. The collection consists of 4500 illustrations.

Hardwicke was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1813 and Fellow of the Linnean Society in 1804. He also held positions of Vice-President to the Asiatic Society of Bengal and was an honorary member of the Royal Dublin Society. Hardwicke was not married but had three illegitimate daughters and two sons apart from two daughters born to an Indian mistress (named as Fyzbuhsh in his Will).

Access Information

Open. Please contact the archivist using the email address given here. 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

This manuscript was presented to the Royal Asiatic Society on 16 June 1827 by Hardwicke. This is recorded in both the manuscript and the Society's Donations Register for that period. On that date Hardwicke also donated "Hayters report upon the Herculaneum MSS", London 1811, and "Wards view of the history etc of the Hindoos", Serampore 1815. The register records that the "meteorological diary was kept by General Hardwicke at Dum Dum 1816 to 1819".

Archivist's Note

This material was 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

This manuscript was compiled and owned by Major-General Thomas Hardwicke.

Related Material

Hardwicke wrote several books some of which are held within our Collections. We also have a painting of a Sheep-eater (Head cat.01.003) which was commissioned by Hardwicke and presented to the RAS in 1832. Full details of these other items can be found in our Library catalogue.

Geographical Names