BRIGGS, John. Madras 18.9.1785 — Burgess Hill, Sussex 27.4.1875. British Colonial Officer and Oriental Scholar, 1801-35 in India. Son of physician James Briggs and Martha Pybus (died 1788/89), came to England 1789. Educated at Eton 1794-99. From 1801 in Madras infantry, participated in both Maratha wars. In 1810 in John Malcolm’s Persian embassy, then Elphinstone’s assistant in Deccan. Resident in Khandesh and Sattar (Grant Duff’s successor). When the British took over the government of Mysore because of the Maharaja’s misconduct, he became member of the government, but as his position led to quarrels, he was moved of his own wish in 1832 to Nagpur, where he was the resident until 1835. Retired and returned to England in 1835, 1838 Major-General, 1861 General. As a member of the Court of Proprietors of the E.I.C. he was very active and opposed to Dalhousie. Eagerly he supported the Anti-Corn-Law League.
As a scholar Briggs’s main work was the edition and translation of the history Tarīh-i Firišta, written in Persian c. 1600 by Muḥammad Qāsim Firišta. Of his other works, Letters gives advice to young officers and civil servants on the “treatment of the natives”.
Publications: “An account of the Origin, History and Manners of the Race of Men called Bunjaras”, Transactions of the Literary Soc. of Bombay 1, 1819, 159-182.
– Translated: Ferishta: History of the rise of Mahommedan power in India till the year 1612. From the original Persian of Mahomed Kasim Ferishta. 1-4. 81+676+568+532+644 p. L. 1829.
– Edited: Tarikh-i-Ferishta, History of the Mahommedan power. 1-2. 830+892 p. Bombay 1831, 2nd edition Lucknow 1864-65.
– “An Autobiographical Memoir of the Early Life of Nana Farnevís, translated from the original Mahratta”, TrRAS 2:1, 1829, 95-108; “Secret correspondence of the court of the Peshwa, Madhu Rao, from the years 1761 to 1772, transl. from the Mahratta”, TrRAS 2:1, 1829, 109-165.
– The Siyar-ul-Mutakherin, a History of the Mahommedan power in India during the last century, by Mir Gholam Hussein Khan, rev. from the transl. of Haji Mustafa and collated with the Persian original. 465 p. L. 1832.
– “On the Aboriginal Tribes of India”, Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal 51, 1851, 331ff.; “Two Lectures on the Aboriginal Race of India as distinguished from the Sanskritic or Hindu Race”, JRAS 13, 1852, 275-309.
– Letters adressed to a Young Person in India, calculated to afford instruction for his conduct … in his intercourse with natives. 8+241 p. L. 1828.
– The present land-tax in India. 476 p. L. 1830; The cotton trade of India. 88 p. L. 1840; India and Europe Compared: Being a Popular View of the Present State and Future Prospects of our Eastern Continental Empire. 272 p. L. 1857.
Sources: A.J.A[rbuthnot], D.N.B. 6, 1886, 328; Evans Bell, Memoir of General J. B. L. 1885; Boase in Br. Biogr. Arch.; Buckland, Dictionary; Wikipedia.
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