JACOB, George Le Grand

JACOB, George Le Grand. Glamorganshire near Cardiff 24.4.1805 — London 27.1.1881. Sir. British Colonial Officer and Indologist in India. Fifth son of John Jacob (1765–1840), later known as historian of Channel Islands, and Anna Maria Le Grand (1768–1818), cousin of —> Philip W. Jacob and uncle of —> Samuel Swinton Jacob. In 1815 the family moved to Guernsey, where the son was educated at Elizabeth College. In the age of 15 he came to London to study under Gilchrist, was soon accepted as cadet and left for India in 1820. During the journey he became friend with A. Burnes. Served in Bombay Presidency: Lieutenant 1823, Captain 1836, Major 1848, Lieutenant-Colonel 1853, Colonel 1856, Brigadier-General 1858. Soon passed the examination in Hindustani, later also in Persian and Marathi. In 1831 returned to England on a furlough and taught in 1833-35 at Addiscombe Military Academy. In 1835 married Emily Utterton and left again to India, but his wife died during the journey and Jacob himself was very ill. After recovering served 1836-39 as Assistant to and 1839-43 himself as Political Agent in “Kattywar”. In 1845-51 Political Agent in the small and bankrupt state of “Sawunt Warree” (Savantvari), which he restored, then Political Agent in Cutch and Envoy in Sind. On a furlough visited China, Java, Sarawak and Australia. In 1856 participated in Outram’s Persian legation, then distinguished service during the mutiny in Maharashtra. In 1858 as Political Commissioner responsible for the whole Southern Maharashtra. In 1861 retired as General-Major.

Jacob has been characterized as a man, who hated bureaucracy. He was a hunter, who killed many lions. He understood and defended Indians and achieved thus many enemies among his fellow officers. His later years he spent in England, suffering of frequent illness. In the end he was blind. C.B. 1859, K.C.S.I. 1869.

Beside his official duties Jacob was an eager and lifelong student of Indian history and literature and a leading member of the Bombay Asiatic Society. He made a large collection of inscriptions, in Girnar he was among the first to copy the Aśokan edict. In his epigraphic studies he was assisted by his Pandit, “Ball Gungadhur Shastree”. During his stay in England in the 1830s he translated for Oriental Translation Fund the manuscript of Ajaib al-Tabakat, achieved by Burnes in Bokhara, but considered it not worth of publishing. The manuscript was given to R.A.S.

Publications: “Inscriptions from Palitana”, JBRAS 1:2, 1841, 56-66, 1 pl. & 1:3, 1842, 96-103; with B. G. Shastri, on Girnar’s Aśokan edict, JBRAS 1:3, 1842, 94-96; a series of further epigraphical “Observations” in JBRAS and a number of other articles.

– With N. L. Westergaard: “Copy of the Asoka Inscription at Girnar”, JBRAS 1:5, 1843, 257f., 13 pl.

Report upon the general condition of the province of Katteewar in 1842. 96 p. Bombay 1845.

Western India before and during the Mutiny. 262 p. L. 1871.

Sources: JRAS 13, 1881, Proc. iv-vi, with bibliography; H.M.C[hichester], D.N.B. 29, 1892, 114-116; Buckland, Dictionary; myjacobfamily.com with two photos; Wikipedia with photo.

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