Five handwritten leather bound volumes - four contain Reports on the Finances of Bengal and the fifth contains English notes/translation of the Shahnamah of Firdausi. Each bears the names A. Hamilton and G. Haughton; the fours Finance books also bear the inscription "Presented to the Royal Asiatic Society by Sir Graves Haughton, 1 April 1837."
Papers of Alexander Hamilton and Graves Chamney Haughton
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Alexander Hamilton (1762-1824) was one of the first Europeans to study Sanskrit. Hamilton joined the East India Company and arrived in India in 1783. He joined the Asiatic Society of Bengal founded by William Jones. Hamilton returned to Europe around 1797 and went to France after the Treaty of Amiens (1802) to collate Sanskrit manuscripts held at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. When war broke out between Britain and France in 1803 Hamilton was interned as an enemy alien, but was released to carry on his researches at the insistence of the French scholar Constantine Volney. Hamilton taught Sanskrit to Volney and others, including Friedrich Schlegel and Jean-Louis Burnouf, the father of Eugene Burnouf. Hamilton spent most of his time compiling a catalogue of Indian manuscripts in the library which was published in 1807. Hamilton was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1808 and became professor of Sanscrit and Hindoo literature at Haileybury College. He died at Liscard on 30 December 1824.
Graves Chamney Haughton (1788-1849) was educated in England before travelling to India in 1808 with the East India Company. He became proficient in Hindustani, studying at Fort William College. He returned to England in 1815 and in 1817 was appointed assistant professor at Haileybury College and held the post of professor of Sanskrit and Bengali from 1819 to 1827. He was supported by various prominent academics when he attempted in 1832 to be elected as the first Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University but he stood down in favour of Horace Hayman Wilson. He was a founding member of the Royal Asiatic Society and served as its Librarian from 1831-1837. He died of cholera in Paris on 28 August 1849.
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The General Meeting Minutes for 1 April 1837 record: "From Sir Graves Haughton: Four MS volmes of Documents prepared under the direction of Lord Cornwallis during his first administration in Bengal, with a view for the perpetual Settlement". These are the four volumes on Finance in Bengal. It is not known when the volume on the Shahnamah of Firdausi was donated to the Society.
These Papers were catalogued by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist in 2018.
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The Papers are identified as belonging to Alexander Hamilton and Graves Haughton. Presumably they came into the sole possession of Haughton after Hamilton's death in 1824. Haughton donated four of these volumes to the Royal Asiatic Society in 1837.