Important acquisitions

Grammar of the Malabar Language.

Author Drummond, Robert
Title Grammar of the Malabar Language.
Imprint Bombay: Printed at the Courier Printing Office
Date of Publication 1799
Language English / Malabar
Notes Robert Drummond was born in Keltie, Fife and was awarded a degree in medicine from King's College Aberdeen. He later joined the East-India Company and was stationed in the Company's Bombay medical establishment. After securing the acquisition of the Malabar province at the peace of Seringapatam in March 1792, the directors of the East-India Company recognised the importance of acquiring proficiency in the Malabar language in order to help maintain the efficient and effective administration of that province. Drummond had already achieved a certain facility with Malabar himself and his Grammar was an attempt to produce an introductory text that would systematically aid other members of the East-India Company in mastering the language. The Right Reverend Luis, the titular Bishop of Uzula, provided Drummond with materials which were of substantial help. The Bishop was fluent in the Malabar language himself and had accumulated a substantial collection of manuscripts dealing with the language. Although his intention was that these papers would eventually assist Catholic missionaries in Malabar, he was glad to lend them to Drummond for the purposes of his Grammar. Drummond originally intended to have the work published in England. However, he was able to find a font of Malabar character types in Bombay that had been executed by a Parsee named Bheramjee Jeejebhoy. A few years earlier, Jeejebhoy had completed a set of fonts in the Gujarati language without any other help or information than what he gleaned from Chamber's Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. The Grammar is dedicated to Jonathan Duncan, the Scottish-born governor of Bombay. Drummond's preface states that due to ill health he had had to temporarily relinquish his medical duties in India and that he had employed an assistant in order to complete the work. Ill health may have been a constant in Drummond's life as he was to die ten years later in 1809 aged only 34. After 1800, the study of Indian languages may also have been Drummond's primary interest for in 1808 he was successful in publishing in Bombay his Illustrations of the Grammatical Parts of the Guzerattee, Mahratta, and English languages. Drummond's life and work is a good example of those 18th and 19th century expatriate Scotsmen who mastered foreign languages in order to help facilitate the spread of either industry or the Gospel.
Shelfmark ABS.8.203.03
Reference Sources ESTC T142761 / Officers and graduates of University and King's College Aberdeen MVD-MDCCLX / Eighteenth Century Medics (Subscriptions, Licenses, Apprenticeships)
Acquired on 28/10/02
Search for Important Acquisitions
      

 

Please let us know what you think of this resource, if you have information to add about an acquisition, or if you have rare Scottish books that you would like to donate or sell. E-mail us at rarebooks@nls.uk

Back to Important Acquisitions Introduction