ORME, Robert

ORME, Robert. Anjengo, Travancore 25.12.1728 — Great Ealing (London) 13.1.1801. British Civil Servant and Historian in India. Historiographer of the E.I.C. “Son of Surgeon Alexander O., educated at Harrow. Went to Calcutta, 1742, joined a mercantile house. Became a writer in the E.I.Co.’s service, 1743. Returned to England in 1753 with Clive and became intimate with him. Appointed by the Court of Directors to be a Member of Council at Madras, 1754-8, and was Commissary and Accountant-General. On his advice and nomination, Clive was sent up in command to Calcutta in 1756. Orme was captured by the French on his way home and taken to the Mauritius, 1759, reached London, 1760. Historiographer to the E.I.Co., 1769-1801. F.S.A. 1770… Friend of Dr. Johnson. All books, printed tracts, manuscripts as left by him, presented to the E.I.Co. are now [1905] in the India Office Library.” Lived in London, in 1792 retired to Great Ealing. He was one of the first to write an Asian history not involving colonial powers, although his inability to use Asian sources somewhat marred the result.

Publications: A History of the Military Transactions of the British Nation in Indostan from the year 1745. L. 1763-78.

Historical Fragments of the Mogul Empire, of the Morattoes, and of the English Concerns in Indostan from the year 1659. L. 1782.

Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; S.T. Delgoda, “‘Nabob. historian and Orientalist’ R.O.: The life of an East India Company’s servant (1728–1801)”, JRAS 3rd S. 2, 1992, 363-376; W. W. Wroth, D.N.B. 42, 1895, 256f.; Wikipedia with portrait (bust by J. Nollekens, 1774).

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