Boden, Joseph (DNB00)

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BODEN, JOSEPH (d. 1811), lieutenant-colonel in the East India Company's service, founder of the Boden professorship of Sanskrit in the University of Oxford—whose name is spelt Bowden in Dodswell and Miles' ‘Lists of the Indian Army’—was appointed lieutenant in the Bombay native infantry on 24 Nov. 1781. He became captain on 25 Oct. 1796, major on 12 Oct. 1802, and lieutenant-colonel on 21 May 1806. His name was borne at various times on the rolls of the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 9th native infantry, and he held successively the offices of judge-advocate, aide-de-camp to the governor, quartermaster-general, and member of the military board at Bombay. There is no record of his field-service at the India Office. He retired from the service in 1807, and died at Lisbon, whither he had gone for the benefit of his health, on 21 Nov. 1811. On the demise of his daughter his property went to the university of Oxford, under conditions recorded on a tablet placed by his executors in Trinity Church, Cheltenham, which bears the following inscription: ‘In a vault beneath this church are deposited the remains of Eliz. Boden, who died 29 Aug. 1827, aged 19 years. By her decease the residuary property of her father, the late Lieutenant-colonel Joseph Boden, H.E.I.C. Bombay Establishment, now in the Court of Chancery and valued at 25,000l. or thereabouts, devolves to the University of Oxford, and, according to the following instructions extracted from his will, is to be “by that Body appropriated in and towards the erection and endowment of a professorship in the Sanskrit language at or in any or either of the Colleges of the said University, being of opinion that a more general and critical knowledge of the language will be the means of enabling my countrymen to proceed in the conversion of the natives of India in the Christian religion, by disseminating a knowledge of the Sacred scriptures among them, more effectually than by all other means whatever.”’ The offer was accepted by the university in convocation on 9 Nov. 1827, and the first election took place in 1832, when Professor H. H. Wilson was appointed to the Sanskrit chair. Four Sanskrit scholarships in connection with the same endowment were founded by decrees of the Court of Chancery in 1830 and 1860. Boden never wrote a book of any kind and was not himself a Sanskrit scholar (Monier Williams, in Notes and. Queries, 5th ser. v. 414).

[India Office Records; Dodswell and Miles' Indian Army Lists; Notes and Queries, 5th ser. v. 414, 458; Gent. Mag. lxxxi. 2, 589; Gloucestershire Notes and Queries (London and Stroud), i. 2.]

H. M. C.