Ouseley, Gore (DNB00)

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OUSELEY, Sir GORE (1770–1844), diplomatist, second son of Captain Ralph Ouseley of Limerick, by his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Holland of the same city, was born on 24 June 1770. He was educated at home with his brother William [q. v.] and his cousin Gideon [q. v.], under the care of a tutor, one Dr. Robinson (Arthur, Life of Gideon Ouseley, 1876, p. 8), and in 1787 left Limerick for India, where he engaged in commercial pursuits. In 1792 he was living 'at Bygonbarree, in the Dacca province, on the banks of the Burhampooter,' where he 'established a manufactory of baftas much cheaper than in any other part of the province,' and occupied his leisure time in the study of 'Persian, Bengalese, Hindu, and a little Arabic and Sanskrit' (Memoir, p. xxiii). He subsequently went to reside at Lucknow, where he became the friend of Saadut Ali, the nabob vizier of Oudh, in whose service he obtained the appointment of major-commandant. His conduct 'during the time of his residence at Lucnow was most useful to the British interests, and was warmly approved by the governor-general,' who sanctioned his appointment as aide-de-camp to the nabob vizier, in which 'situation he availed himself, with judgment and wisdom, of every opportunity to cultivate a good understanding between the state of Oude and the British power' (Despatches of the Marquess Wellesley, 1837, iv. 679). Ouseley returned to England in 1806, and was created a baronet on 3 Oct. 1808. On account of his intimate acquaintance with the language and customs of Persia, he was appointed in 1809, on Wellesley's recommendation, to the office of mihmandár to Mirza Abul-Hasan, the Persian ambassador, during his visit to this country. On 10 March 1810 Ouseley was appointed ambassador-extraordinary and minister-plenipotentiary to the Persian court. Accompanied by Mirza Abul Hasán, he left England in July 1810, and arrived at Shiraz in April 1811. In November following he reached Teheran, where he was received by Fath Ali Shah. After a long and tedious discussion, a definitive treaty between England and Persia was signed on 14 March 1812, and Ouseley was presented by the shah with the decoration of the Persian order of the Lion and Sun, set in diamonds. In June Ouseley had an interview with the prince royal at Tabriz. A treaty of peace having been concluded between England and Russia, Ouseley now received instructions to mediate between Russia and Persia. Though he succeeded in obtaining an armistice, the negotiations were at first unsuccessful. Ultimately, through his mediation, the treaty of Gulistan was signed on 13 Oct. 1813, which put an end to the war between Russia and Persia. Taking leave of the shah at Teheran on 22 April 18 14, Ouseley set out for St. Petersburg, where he arrived in August, and received the thanks of the emperor for his services in the peace negotiations between Russia and Persia. On 31 Aug. he was presented by Count Nesselrode, on behalf of the emperor, with the Grand Cordon of the Russian order of St. Alexander of Newski and a snuffbox set in brilliants and adorned with a portrait of the emperor. Ouseley returned to England in July 1816. In consequence of some informalities, Ouseley's treaty between Great Britain and Persia was never ratified, and the treaty of Teheran was signed by Morier and Ellis, the British plenipotentiaries, on 26 Nov. 1814. Ouseley obtained a pension of 2,000l. a year, and retired into private life. Though he failed to receive the peerage for which he had been recommended both by the emperor and the shah (Despatches of the Marquess Wellesley, iv. 680), he was admitted to the privy council on 10 Oct. 1820, and on 5 Aug. 1831 was made a knight grand cross of the order of the Guelphs. He died at Hall Barn Park, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, on 18 Nov. 1844, aged 74. A monument was erected to his memory in Hertingfordbury Church, Hertfordshire, by his widow.

Ouseley was an able oriental scholar, and possessed a valuable collection of oriental manuscripts which he had made in India and Persia. While at Shiraz he gave protection and assistance to Henry Martyn, the well-known missionary, who was engaged in revising and completing a Persian translation of the New Testament. He assisted in founding the Royal Asiatic Society of London in 1823, and subsequently in establishing ‘the Oriental Translation Committee,’ of which he was elected chairman. In 1842 he was appointed president of the Society for the Publication of Oriental Texts, instituted in that year. He was also a fellow of the Royal Society and of the Antiquarian Society. He purchased Hall Barn, in August 1832, from Harry Edmond Waller of Farmington Lodge, Gloucestershire, a descendant of Edmund Waller the poet, and in 1835 served as high sheriff of Buckinghamshire.

Ouseley married, on 12 April 1806, Harriet Georgina, daughter of John Whitelocke, by whom he had two sons—viz. Wellesley Abbas, born at Tabriz in Persia on 4 Aug. 1813, who died on 9 March 1824; and Frederick Arthur Gore [q.v.] , who succeeded to the baronetcy—and three daughters, viz. Mary Jane, born on 28 March 1807 who died in 1861; Eliza Shírín, born on 13 June 1811 at Shiraz in Persia, who died an infant; and Alexandrina Perceval, born at St. Petersburg on 24 Oct. 1814, who died at Frome Selwood, Somersetshire, on 1 Dec. 1862.

‘The Gûlistân of Musle-Huddeen Shaik Sâdy of Sheeraz, printed from the Calcutta edition published by Francis Gladwin, Esq.’ (London, 1809, 8vo), was printed under his direction. Ouseley's only printed work, viz. ‘Biographical Notices of Persian Poets, with Critical and Explanatory Remarks,’ London, 1846, 8vo, was published by the ‘Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland’ after his death. Copies of the official correspondence of the prince regent, Ouseley, Morier, and Ellis with Fath Ali Shah and some of his ministers are preserved at the British Museum (Addit. MS. 19529). There are engraved portraits of Ouseley by H. Cook after R. Rothwell, and by Ridley after S. Drummond, in Jerdan's ‘National Portrait Gallery,’ vol. iv., and the ‘European Magazine’ for July 1810 respectively.

[Memoir of the late Right Hon. Sir Gore Ouseley, by the Rev. James Reynolds, prefixed to Ouseley's Biogr. Notices of Persian Poets, 1846; Morier's Second Journey through Persia, &c., 1818; Sir William Ouseley's Travels in Various Countries of the East, more particularly Persia, 1819–23; Markham's General Sketch of the History of Persia, 1874, pp. 375, 378–80, 534–6; Webb's Comp. of Irish Biogr. 1878, p. 427; Jerdan's National Portrait Gallery, 1833, vol. iv.; Gent. Mag. 1814 pt. ii. p. 552, 1845 pt. i. pp. 200–201, 665, 1863 pt. i. p. 131; Annual Register, 1844, App. to Chron. p. 283; Cussans's Hertfordshire, ‘Hundred of Hertford,’ pp. 106, 112; Lipscombe's Hist. of Buckinghamshire, 1847, vol. i. p. xx, vol. iii. 181, 188–9; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

G. F. R. B.