PERCIVAL, Peter. Prestwich, Lancashire 24.7.1803 — Yercaud (Eṟkāṭu), Salem dt. 11.7.1882. Rev. British Missionary and Indologist (Tamil Scholar) in Sri Lanka and India. Son of Peter and Jane P. In 1826 Wesleyan Methodist Mission sent him to Jaffna, worked there until 1829 and after a few years in Bengal in 1832-51 as Principal of Jaffna Central College. He came to England intending to return soon to Jaffna, but had difficulties with the Methodist hierarchy in London. He renounced Methodism and was ordained Anglican deacon 1852. After brief time as teacher in Canterbury he went to Madras in 1854 and was ordained priest there 1855. From 1856 Registrar of Madras University and Professor of Sanskrit and Vernacular Literature at Presidency College, now leaving mission work. Finally retired to the hill station of Yercaud. Married Mary Fletcher, two daughter and two sons. His son-in-law and soon close friend was —> R. B. Foote.
In Sri Lanka Percival had conflicts with fellow missionaries about mission tactics, preferring schools to direct preaching. In 1841-47 he collaborated with Āṟumuka Nāvalar (1822–1879) translating the Bible in Tamil. Beside Tamil he also studied Sanskrit and Telugu.
Publications: Tiruṭṭānṭacaṅkirakam or A Collection of Proverbs in Tamil with their English Translations. 266 p. Jaffna 1843, 3rd ed. Madras 1877.
– Land of the Veda: India Briefly Described in some of its Aspects, Physical, Social, Intellectual and Moral. 12+515 p. 11 pl. L. 1854.
– “The Tamil Epic Chintamani”, MJLS 18 (N.S. 2), 1857, 43-49 (by Terutēvar/Tiruttakkatēvar).
– Tamil–English Dictionary. Madras 1861, 2nd ed. Madras 1870, repr. 297 p. 1993; Anglo–Tamil Dictionary. 4+169 p. Madras 1862, and many new editions.
– Telugu–English Dictionary. 484 p. Madras 1862, 2nd ed. 1867; Anglo–Telugu Dictionary. 245 p. Madras 1861, 5th ed. Madras 1886.
– Tamil minor poets. Selected by P.P. Transl. by S. Winfred. 8+51 p. Madras 1872.
Sources: Wikipedia with photo; worldcat.org.
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