CRAWFURD, John. Islay, Hebrides 13.8.1783 — South Kensington 11.5.1868. British (Scots) 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. In 1811 he was with 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. in Bali and in 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, concentrated in his research. He was the leading authority on 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. Opposed to Darwin and evolution, defending polygenesis of human races. Married with Horatia Ann Perry, one son.
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.
– 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.
– A Grammar and Dictionary of the Malay Language. 1-2. L. 1852.
– A Descriptive Dictionary of the Indian Islands and adjacent countries. 471 p. L. 1856.
– also wrote on free trade, which he eagerly defended, and other subjects.
Sources: short note by Hall in BSOAS 20, 1957, 305, note 3; D.N.B.; Buckland, Dictionary; *Oxford D.N.B.; Wikipedia with photo and further references.