Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy

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JEJEEBHOY, Sir Jamsetjee (17831859), a Parsee merchant and great public benefactor, was born of poor parents in Bombay, July 15, 1783. Left an orphan while still very young, he had many difficulties to overcome at the outset of the mercantile career he chose for himself. On one occasion the ship in which he and all his goods were was captured by the French, and the young merchant was landed penniless at the Cape of Good Hope. Thence he procured a passage to Bombay through the charity of some Dutch ladies; and, resolutely beginning life afresh, he rose to be one of the most opulent Parsee merchants in India. His lavish benevolence, which recognized no difference of nation, sect, or class, and extended even to the brute creation, has won him enduring honour. In 1822 he paid the debts of all the poor debtors in Bombay jail; he enriched his native city with a hospital and an educational establishment for Parsee children, a school of art and other benevolent institutions, and contributed largely to the Grant Medical College, while to the public works at Bombay, Nowsaree, and elsewhere he gave large grants, as well as to the patriotic fund and the Indian sufferers fund after the mutiny. Eleven schools owe their foundation to his munificence, in which 2710 Parsee children are educated. It is estimated that he gave away upwards of 26 lakhs of rupees. Knighted in 1842, he was promoted to a baronetcy in 1857; a statue was voted to him in 1856, and was unveiled in Bombay town-hall on August 1, 1859. At his death on April 15, 1859, his property was estimated at 8,550,000 rupees. According to an act of the legislative council of India, the name Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy must be assumed by all his successors in the baronetcy. His son (18111877) was prominent as the head of the Parsee community in Bombay, and exercised a considerable influence among the Europeans. He was a member of the legislative council of Bombay.