Bogle, George (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

BOGLE, GEORGE (1746–1781), diplomatist, was the youngest son of George Bogle, of Daldowie, near Bothwell, Lanarkshire, and Anne, daughter of Sir John Sinclair, baronet, of Stevenson, Haddingtonshire, and was born 26 Nov. 1746. He received his early education at Haddington and Glasgow, and, after attending the university of Edinburgh from November 1760 to April 1761, was sent to a private school at Enfield for three years. In June 1765 he entered as clerk the counting-house of Bogle & Scott, of which his eldest brother was the head, where he remained till, in 1769, he obtained an appointment in the service of the East India Company. From Warren Hastings, the governor of Bengal, he received, on 10 Oct. 1772, the appointment of assistant secretary to the board of revenue; on 9 March of the following year, that of registrar to the Sadr Diwáni Adálat, the court of appeals for the natives, and soon afterwards that of secretary to the select committee. Having won by his abilities and character the special approval of Warren Hastings, he was, 13 May 1774, selected to act as envoy to the Lama. of Tibet, with the view of opening up commercial and friendly intercourse between that country and the plains of India. He and his companions were the first Englishmen to cross the Tsanpu in its upper range, and not only was he completely successful in his mission, but formed a strong personal friendship with the Lama, with whom he continued to correspond after his return to India. Notwithstanding, however, that his important services were admitted by all parties, he remained, after his return in 1775, for some time practically without employment, on account of the factions against Hastings, until the latter, by the death of one of the council in September 1776, was able to secure a majority of votes. On 12 Nov. following Bogle was appointed to superintend the arrangements in connection with the renewal of the leases of the company's provinces, and was also made commissioner of lawsuits. In 1779 he was appointed collector of Rangpúr, where he established a fair, which was much frequented by Bhutan merchants, and was continued for many years. At the request of Warren Hastings he had agreed to undertake a second mission to Tibet, but the news that the Lama had gone on a visit to Pekin caused it to be postponed, and the death of Bogle, 3 April 1781, at Calcutta, where he had been called to serve on a committee of revenue, prevented it being carried out. From Gleig’s ‘Memoirs of Warren Hastings’ (ii. 19) we learn that Hastings sent to Dr. Samuel Johnson a copy of Bogle’s journal in Tibet, to obtain his opinion on the propriety of publishing it. There is no information as to what Johnson advised, but from a communication to the Royal Society in April 1777 it would appear that Bogle intended to publish it, although the multiplicity of matters engaging his attention prevented him carrying out his purpose. A volume of manuscripts which his executors had given to Alex. Dalrymple, geographer to the East India Company, in 1792, to prepare for the press, was never published, and at the sale of Dalrymple’s library was bought by Lord Valentia. After the Arley Castle sale it came into the possession of the trustees of the British Museum (Add. MS. 19283) Another copy of the journal of Bogle is said to have been presented to the Royal Society.

[From his journals, memoranda, official and private correspondence preserved by his family in Scotland, a narrative of his mission to Tibet was compiled by Clements R. Markham, and, accompanied by a life and notes, was published in 1876. There is also a notice of Bogie in Memorials of the Life and Writings of Rev. Robert Morehead (1875), pp. 393–5.]

T. F. H.