CRAWFURD, John. Islay, Hebrides 13.8.1783 — South Kensington, London 11.5.1868. British (Scottish) Physician, Colonial Officer and South-East Asian Scholar. Son of the physician Samuel Cr., educated at Bowmore. Then studies of medicine at Edinburgh, M.D. From 1803 served as an army medical officer chiefly in Upper India for 5 years, then in Penang, where he learnt Malay. In 1811 he participated under Lord Minto in the expedition to Java, served then under Raffles in Jogjakarta and was employed there in diplomatic missions in 1811-16 e.g. to Bali and Celebes. After a few years in the U.K., in 1822 he was envoy to Bangkok and Hue, in 1823-26 served as resident in Singapore, in 1826-27 envoy to Ava. In 1827/28 he returned to England and, after unsuccesful attempts to enter politics as a radical, concentrated on his research. Married with Horatia Ann Perry, one son. —> Th. E. Perry was his brother-in-law.
He was the leading authority in the history of South-East Asia. In later years he wrote much on etymology and in 1861 attacked the idea of IE relationship on racist grounds. He opposed to Darwin and evolution, defending polygenesis of human races. Although racist, he strongly opposed to slavery.
Publications: History of the Indian Archipelago: containing an account of the manners, arts, languages, religions, institutions, and commerce of its inhabitants. 1-3. 520+563+554 p. Edinburgh 1820.
– “On the existence of the Hindu Religion in the island of Bali”, As. Res. 13, 1820, 128-170; “The Ruins of Prambanan in Java”, As. Res. 13, 1820, 337-368; “On the Ruins of Boro Budor, in Java”, Tr. Lit. Soc. of Bombay 2, 1820, 163-176, 7 pl.
– Journal of an embassy from the Governor-General of India to the court of Ava, in the year 1827. 12+516+89 p. L. 1829; Journal of an Embassy to the Courts of Siam and Cochin-China. 1828, 2nd ed. 1-2. L. 1830.
– A view of the present state and future prospects of the free trade and colonisation of India. 106 p. L. 1830; Notes on the settlement or colonization of British subjects in India. 52 p. L. 1833; Inquiry into the System of Taxation in India, Letters on the Interior of India, an attack on the newspaper stamp-tax and the duty on paper entitled Taxes on Knowledge. 1836.
– A Grammar and Dictionary of the Malay Language. 1-2. 9+291+84, 208+201 p L. 1852.
– A Descriptive Dictionary of the Indian Islands and adjacent countries. 471 p. L. 1856.
– Beside further ethnological writings, also wrote on free trade, which he eagerly defended, and other political subjects.
Sources: Short note by Hall in BSOAS 20, 1957, 305, note 3; R.K. Douglas, D.N.B. 13, 60f.; Buckland, Dictionary; *C.M. Turnbull, Oxford D.N.B. 14, 90f.; Wikipedia with photo and further references.
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