PEAL, Samuel Edward. 31.12.1834 — Moran, Sibsagar 29.7.1897. British Lay Ethnographer and Botanist. Originally an artist, in 1862 went to India and became a tea-planter near Sibsagar, Assam. As a planter he did not succeed well, but gained some fame with his biological and ethnographical studies. Like many of his time, he was very fond of racial arguments. He prepared a large collection of drawings of the plants of Assam, which was later destroyed by fire, but fortunately had been copied by J. M. Foster and these copies are preserved in Edinburgh.
Publications: Scientific articles and travel reports in JASB and ProcASB, some republished in Selections of papers regarding the Hill tracts between Assam and Burma and on the Upper Brahmaputra.
– “The Nagas and Neighbouring Tribes”, JRAnthrInst 3, 1874, 476-481; “Vocabulary of the Banpará Nágás”, JASB 42:1, 1877, Appendix xxx-xxxvi.
– “On a peculiarity of the river names in Asam”, JASB 48:4, 1879, 258-270; “Fading Histories”, JASB 63:3, 1894, 10-20; “Table of Comparison of selected Words and Numerals in the several Assam Languages”, PrASB 1895, 170-175; “On some Traces of the Kol-Mon-Anam in the Eastern naga Hills”, JASB 65:3, 1896, 20-24.
– “Note on Platform-Dwellings in Assam”, JRAnthrInst 11, 1882, 53-56.
Sources: Stray notes, especially in T. Ballantyne, Webs of Empire: Locating New Zealand’s Colonial Past. Vancouver 2012, 193ff. (much on his ethnographical studies, not much on biography); obituaries in Nature Sept. 1897, 421 and *Calcutta Englishman 12.8.1897. My thanks are due to William J. Ingram for sending some additional information in an e-mail 19.12.2021.
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