DALRYMPLE, Alexander

DALRYMPLE, Alexander. New Hailes near Edinburgh 24.7.1737 (or 1736) — London 19.6.1808. British (Scottish) Geographer and Hydrographer. Son of Sir James D., bart., and Lady Christian Hamilton. In 1752 went to London and joined E.I.C., 1753 writer in Madras. During his service also visited South-East Asia (Sulu) and China (Canton 1764). In 1765 returned to London, now Fellow of Royal Society, still in E.I.C.’s service. In 1775-77 again in Madras, from 1779 hydrographer of E.I.C., from 1795 of the Admiralty. Summarily dismissed in May 1808 he died depressed a few weeks after. He was convinced in the great possibilities of British trade in East and South-East Asia and tried hardly to promote it. “He produced thousands of nautical charts, mapping a remarkable number of seas and oceans for the first time”, but also firmly believed in the existence of the economically important Terra australis incognita (soon shown nonexistent by Cook).

Publications: Wrote on Pacific exploration, on South-East Asian trade, etc.

– “Account of a curious pagoda near Bombay”, Archaeology 7, 1785, 323-332.

Sources: W. Burns, Literature of Travel and Explor. 1, 2003, 305-307; *H.T.Fry, A.D. (1737-1808) and the Expansion of British Trade. L. 1970; J.K.L[aughton], D.N.B. 13, 1888, 402f.; Life and portrait in National Portrait Gallery homepage; Wikipedia with two portraits.

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