LEYDEN, John

LEYDEN, John. Denholm, near Hawick 8.9.1775 — Batavia 10.9.1811. British (Scots) Physician and Orientalist, a Pioneer of South-East Asian Studies. Son of John L., a shepherd, educated at Kirktown and Edinburgh, learned Oriental languages already at home in Edinburgh. Contributed to literary periodicals, produced independent works, and collaborated with Sir Walter Scott collecting old ballads and folklore. Licensed as a preacher in 1798, studied medicine and became M.D. at St.Andrew’s. Assistant Surgeon in service of the E.I.C. in India (Madras) and South-East Asia from 1803. After surveying Mysore and visiting Penang he came in 1806 to Calcutta and became Professor of Hindustani at College of Fort Williams and Judge of the 24 Parganas, in 1810 Assay Master of the Mint. In 1805 in Penang he met and befriended himself with Raffles, whom he then accompanied as Malay Interpreter in the conquest of Java, but died soon after. According to contemporary testimonies he was enormously learned, but also a great bore with his endless talks.

Publications: translated the Malay Annals (1821) and the Commentaries of Baber, a few articles in the As. Res.; own poetry and poetical translations.

Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; scattered notes from Maurice Collis, Raffles. London 1966; Wikipedia.

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