Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Baillie, John (1772-1833)

BAILLIE, JOHN (1772–1833), colonel, orientalist, political agent, and director of the East India Company, entered the company's service in 1790, arriving in India in 1791. He took ensign's rank in 1793 and lieutenant's in 1794, devoting his leisure to the study of oriental languages, which he prosecuted with such success that on the foundation of the new college of Fort William in 1801 he was appointed professor of the Arabic and Persian languages and of Mohammedan law. In 1803, on the outbreak of the Mahratta war, he joined in the siege of Agra with the rank of captain, and soon after was appointed to the difficult post of political agent at Bundelkhand. Disaffection was rife here, and the chiefs were forming dangerous combinations. Captain Baillie, however, succeeded in disuniting the league of the chiefs and re-establishing order and security, for which services he was publicly thanked by the governor-general in a letter to the directors, in which it was said that 'the British authority in Bundelkhand was only preserved by his fortitude, ability, and influence.' He had, in fact, transferred to the company a territory with a revenue of 225,000l. a year. Baillie resigned his professorship in 1807 for the position of resident at Lucknow, which he held till 1815. Three years later he retired from the service, and on his return to England went into parliament as one of the members for the borough of Hedon (now disfranchised), for which he sat from 1820 to 1830, and afterwards from 1830 to 1832 represented the burghs of Inverness. He was elected a director of the East India Company in 1823, and died 20 April 1833. While professor, Colonel Baillie published his useful 'Sixty Tables elucidatory of a Course of Lectures on Arabic Grammar delivered in the College of Fort William during the first year of its institution' (1801), and the text of 'The Five Books upon Arabic Grammar,' i.e. the ' Meeut Âmel,' 'Shurhu Meeut Âmel,' 'Mesbâh,' 'Hedâyut oon-Nuhve,' and the 'Kâfeea,' of which the first four were issued in two thin volumes in 1802-3, and the last was not published. He also translated from the Arabic part (relating to commercial transactions) of a digest of Mohammedan law in 1797, at the request of Sir John Shore (Lord Teignmouth), the then governor-general, but the work was never completed.

[Journal of the Bengal Asiatic Society, iii. 100, 101 (1834); Annual Register, 1833, Ixxv. 219.]

S. L-P.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.12
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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418 ii 6-7 Baillie, John (1772-1833): for from 1830 to 1832 read in 1830 and from 1832 till his death next year
8 before He was elected insert He was a moderate whig supporting Catholic emancipation but opposing the Reform Bill