Gladwin, Francis (DNB00)

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GLADWIN, FRANCIS (d. 1813?), orientalist, served in the Bengal army. His devotion to oriental literature drew upon him the attention of Warren Hastings, who warmly encouraged the opening of the intellectual world of Asia to European research. In 1783–6 Gladwin, under this influence, published his translation of a portion of the encyclopædic work of Abul Fazl Allámi, under the title of ‘Ayeen Akbery; or the Institutes of the Emperor Akber.’ The work, warmly recommended to the patronage of the court of directors by the governor-general, was brought out in Calcutta in three volumes 4to. In 1785 Hastings established the still existing Asiatic Society of Bengal, of which Gladwin was a member. In 1788 he published a ‘History of Hindostan’ (Calcutta, 1 vol. 4to), and in the same year a translation of the ‘Narrative of Transactions in Bengal’ during the viceroyships of Azim-us-Shán and Ala Vardi Khán. From this time Gladwin continued to bring out numerous translations from Persian writers, and several grammatical works and vocabularies, the last being a Persian-Hindustani-English dictionary which appeared in 1809. In 1801 he was appointed a professor in the college of Fort William, established by the Marquis Wellesley, for the better instruction of young gentlemen appointed to the Indian civil service. Next year he presented the college press with new founts of oriental types; but in May of that year (1802) he was transferred to Patna as collector of customs. Here he appears to have passed the remainder of his days. In 1808 he was promoted to be commissary resident at Patna, an office of which the precise nature cannot now be ascertained. There is no publication of Gladwin's later in date than 1809; his estate was administered to in 1813.

Gladwin was not a great scholar, but displayed singular ardour and devotion. In the preface to his ‘Gulistán,’ 1806, he speaks of his desire to furnish the college of Fort William with a collection of the best ‘Persian Classicks,’ which he intended to print in eight quarto volumes. There were to be careful editions of the texts, with biographies, criticisms, notes, and indices. A part only of this task was fulfilled. Some of the letters addressed by Gladwin to Warren Hastings are in Brit. Mus. MS. Addit. 29168–70, 29170, 29179.

[Gladwin's prefaces; Biog. Dict. of Living Authors (1816), p. 432; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. vi. 637; Gent. Mag. (1830) ii. 627.]

H. G. K.