Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/443

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Hodgson
Hodgson
431

court of directors of the East India Company. Of Sanskrit manuscripts he collected more than four hundred, which are now divided among the libraries of Calcutta, London, and Paris. The portion sent to Paris supplied Eugene Burnouf with the materials for his two epoch-making works, which first placed the knowledge of Northern Buddhism on a scientific foundation. Burnouf 's posthumous 'Le Lotus de la Bonne Loi' (Paris, 1852) is dedicated to Hodgson, 'comme au fondateur de la veritable etude du Bouddhisme par les textes et les monuments.'

Hodgson's curiosity was by no means confined to literature and religion. He collected a great mass of documents relating to the history, the administration, the trade, and the people of Nepal, for a work on that country which he was fated never to write. These are now deposited in the library of the India Office. He was one of the pioneers of scientific ethnology, his monograph on 'The Koch, Bodo, and Dhimal People' (1847) being always referred to as the model of what such research should be. As a zoologist his name stands equally high. In the 'Royal Society Catalogue of Scientific Papers' there are no less than 127 entered under his name. From Nepal and the neighbouring regions he added 150 new species to the avi-fauna of India; and he was the first to describe thirty-nine new species of mammalia, one of which (Budorcas taxicolor) ranks as a new genus. By means of native collectors and artists whom he trained, he was enabled to present to the British Museum more than 10,000 specimens of birds, mammals, and reptiles, together with 1,800 sheets of drawings, which are now in the rooms of the Zoological Society. He also wrote on the physical geography of the Himalayas, and on the topography of Tibet, with special reference to trade routes.

Hodgson has further left his mark on some Indian questions of practical utility. One of his earliest official reports from Nepal urged the enlistment of Gurkhas in the Indian army, and at the crisis of the mutiny his influence was exercised with Lord Canning at Calcutta to accept Sir Jang Bahadur's offer of military assistance. He planted a tea garden in the residency grounds at Kathmandu, and was among the first to advocate the settlement of European colonists at hill stations. On the subject of education he took a line of his own. At the time when Macaulay's powerful arguments decided the government to prefer English to the classical languages of the east as the medium for higher instruction, Hodgson issued a series of letters in favour of the claim of the vernaculars. In particular he proposed the establishment of a normal vernacular college for native schoolmasters.

To return to the chronological order of Hodgson's life. His resignation of the civil service in 1843 was irrevocable; but after less than a year at home he resolved to return to India in a private capacity in order to continue his scientific researches. He fixed his residence at Darjiling, as near as he could get to his favourite Nepal. Here for thirteen years he lived the life of a recluse, suffering a good deal from weak health, which could not abate his collecting ardour and his devotion to learning. It was during this period that he applied himself chiefly to ethnology. One of the few guests that he entertained was Sir Joseph Hooker, then engaged on a botanical exploration of Sikkim. In 1853 he returned to England for a short visit, in the course of which he met and married his first wife, Anne, daughter of General Henry Alexander Scott. It was her inability to stand the climate that finally compelled him to leave India in 1858. He settled in Gloucestershire, first at Dursley, and afterwards (1867) at Alderley, under the Cotswold hills. He now altogether abandoned his oriental studies, and adapted himself to the life of a country gentleman, riding to hounds until sixty-eight years of age. From 1883 onwards he wintered on the Riviera, in a villa that he built for himself at Mentone. His first wife died in 1868, and in the second year of his widowerhood he married Susan, daughter of the Rev. Chambré Townshend of Derry, co. Cork, who survived him. By neither marriage were there any children. He died in London, at 48 Dover Street, on 23 May 1894, and was buried in the church-yard of Alderley.

It is remarkable that Hodgson never received any mark of reward from his own government for either his official or his scientific services. In 1838 he was created a chevalier of the legion of honour, and was awarded a gold medal by the Société Asiatique. In 1844 he was elected a corresponding member of the Institut de France. Many learned societies, on the continent as well as in England, made him an honorary member. In 1877 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society; and in 1889 the university of Oxford conferred upon him the honorary degree of D.C.L. When he first left India (in 1843) the Asiatic Society of Bengal had a bust made of him by T. E. Thornycroft, a duplicate of which is in the rooms of the Royal Asiatic Society in London. Repro-