MAURICE, Thomas. Hertford 25.9.1754 — London 30.3.1824. Rev. British Priest and Oriental Scholar. Son of Thomas M., a schoolmaster. “Educated at Christ’s Hospital, Ealing and Bath, and at St. John’s and University Colleges, Oxford, 1774-78 [B.A. 1778], ordained. Held several curacies and a vicarage, 1798. Assistant-Keeper of MSS. in the British Museum [1798–1824], where he died.” In 1798–1824 Vicar of Wormleighton, Warwickshire and 1804–24 of Culdham, Kent. M.A. 1808 Oxford.
He was “one of the first to make the history and religions of India generally known. Also wrote poems.” But he remained an amateur, knew no Indian languages and committed many mistakes. He draw much of his material from Jones. One can only wonder, what induced the Wikipedia author to claim that the Indian Antiquities “remains to our day a trustworthy book of reference”.
Publications: A letter, addressed to the Honourable Court of Directors of the East-India Company, containing proposals for printing a history of the revolutions of the empire of Indostan, … with a sketch of the plan on which the work will be conducted. 4+51 p. L. 1790.
– Indian Antiquities, or, Dissertations relative to the ancient geographical divisions, the pure system of primeval theology … of Hindostan, compared throughout with the religion, laws, government, and literature of Persia, Egypt and Greece. 1-7. L. 1793-1800.
– The History of Hindustan, its arts, its aciences, as connected with the history of the other great empires of Asia. 1-2. 32+591, 19+705 p. L. 1795-97, 2nd ed. 1819-20.
– Sanscreet fragments, or interesting extracts from the sacred books of the Brahmins. 64 p. L. 1797.
– A Dissertation on the Oriental Trinities. 460 p. L. 1800.
– Modern History of Hindustan. 1-2. L. 1802-10.
– Brahminical fraud detected; or the attempts of the sacerdotal tribe of India to invest their fabulous deities and heroes with the honour and attributes of the Christian Messiah, examined, exposed, and defeated. 8+140 p. L. 1812.
– Memoirs … comprehending the history of the progress of Indian literature in Britain, during a period of thirty years. 1-2. L. 1819-20 (3. never appeared).
– Other works, including poetry.
Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; Wikipedia with portrait.
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