Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Briggs, John (1785-1875)
BRIGGS, JOHN (1785–1875), Indian officer, entered the Madras infantry in 1801, He took part in both the Mahratta wars of the present century, serving in the campaign which ended that eventful struggle as a political officer under Sir John Malcolm, whom he had previously accompanied on his mission to Persia in 1810. He was one of Mountstuart Elphinstone's assistants in the Dekhan, subsequently served in Khandesh, and succeeded Captain Grant Duff as resident at Sattára, after which, in 1831, he was appointed senior member of the board of commissioners for the government of Mysore when the administration of that state was assumed by the British government owing to the misrule of the maharájá. His appointment to this office, which was made by the governor-general, Lord William Bentinck, was not agreeable to the government of Madras, and after a somewhat stormy tenure of office, which lasted barely a year, Briggs resigned his post in September 1832, and was transferred to the residency of Nágpur, where he remained until 1835. In that year he left India, and never returned. In 1838 he attained the military rank of major-general. After his return to England he took a prominent part as a member of the court of proprietors of the East India Company in the discussion of Indian affairs, and was a vigorous opponent of Lord Dalhousie's annexation policy. He was also an active member of the Anti-Corn-law League. He was a good Persian scholar, and translated Ferishta's 'Mohammadan Power in India,' and the 'Siyar-ul-Murákhirin,' which recorded the decline of the Moghul power. He was also the author of an essay on the land tax of India, and in a series of 'Letters addressed to a young person in India' he discussed in a light but instructive style various questions bearing upon the conduct of young Indian officers, civil and military, and especially their treatment of the natives. Briggs was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in recognition of his proficiency in oriental literature. He died at Burgess Hill, Sussex, on 27 April 1875, at the age of eighty-nine.
[Allen's Indian Mail. 1875; Letters addressed to a Young Person in India, by Lieutenant-colonel John Briggs, late Resident at Sattára; On the Land Tax of India. &c., by Lieutenant-colonel John Briggs, London, 1830; Memoir of General John Briggs, by Major Evans Bell, London, 1885.]