1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Muir, John

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MUIR, JOHN (1810–1882), Scottish Orientalist, was born on the 5th of February 1810 in Glasgow, where his father, William Muir (d. 1821), was a merchant. He was educated at the grammar school of Irvine, the university of Glasgow, and the East India Company’s College at Haileybury. He went to India in 1829, and served with distinction in various offices, as assistant secretary to the board of revenue, Allahabad, as collector at Azimgarh, as principal of the Victoria College, Benares, and as civil and session judge at Fatehpur. He encouraged the study of Sanskrit, and furthered schemes for the enlightenment and amelioration of the Hindus. In 1853 he retired and settled in Edinburgh, where he continued his Indian labours. In 1862 he endowed the chair of Sanskrit in the university of Edinburgh, and was the main agent in founding the Shaw fellowship in moral philosophy. He was a D.C.L. of Oxford, LL.D. of Edinburgh and Ph.D. of Bonn, and was one of the first to receive the distinction of C.I.E. He died on the 7th of March 1882.

In 1858 appeared vol. i. of his Original Sanskrit Texts (2nd ed., 1868); it was on the origin of caste, an inquiry intended to show that it did not exist in the Vedic age. Vol. ii. (1st ed., 1860; 2nd, 1871) was concerned with the origin and racial affinities of the Hindus, exhibiting all the then available evidences of their connexion, their linguistic, social and political kinship, with the other branches of the Indo-European stock. Vol. iii. (1st ed., 1861; 2nd, 1868) was on the Vedas, a full inquiry as to the ideas of their origin, authority and inspiration held both by the Vedic and later Indian writers. Vol. iv. (1st ed., 1863; 2nd, 1873) was a comparison of the Vedic with the later representations of the principal Indian deities, an exhibition of the process by which three gods hardly known to the Vedic hymns became the deities of the former Hindu Trimurti. Vol. v. (1870) was on the Vedic mythology. Dr Muir was also the author of a volume of Metrical Translations from the Sanskrit, an anonymous work on Inspiration, several works in Sanskrit, and many essays in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society and elsewhere.