Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fullarton, John

FULLARTON, JOHN (1780?–1849), traveller and writer on the currency, was the only child of Dr. Gavin Fullarton, who died in 1795, by his wife, the daughter of Alexander Dunlop, professor of Greek in the university of Glasgow. He went to India as a medical officer in the service of the East India Company, became an assistant surgeon in the Bengal presidency in 1802, but resigned his appointment in 1813. During this period he became the part owner and editor of a newspaper at Calcutta. On leaving the service Fullarton entered the house of Alexander & Co., bankers of Calcutta, as a partner, acquired an immense fortune in a few years, and returned to England to live. Meantime he had travelled widely over India, and about 1820 made an extensive and systematic tour through the empire, which is believed to have been the first complete progress ever made through our eastern possessions. During the voyage he collected copious memoranda, but they were never published. In 1823 he purchased Lord Essex's house, 1 Great Stanhope Street, Mayfair. The reform crisis led him to contribute several articles to the 'Quarterly Review' in defence of the tory party, and he is said to have been one of the founders of the Carlton Club. During these years he made extensive tours through Great Britain and the continent in a coach fitted up with a library and other luxuries. In 1833 he went again to India, and in the following year was entrusted with an important mission to China. On his return to Europe he visited Egypt, where at Memphis his wife, Miss Finney of Calcutta, died in 1837. In 1838 having lost a considerable part of his fortune by the failure of his bankers, he moved to 12 Hyde Park Street. In 1844, during the progress of the Bank Charter Act through parliament, he published in support of the doctrines of Mr Tooke a book 'On the Regulation of Currencies, being an examination of the principles on which it is proposed to restrict the future issues on credit of the Bank of England.' It is undoubtedly an able work (for criticism see Economist, 28 Sept. 1844). Fullarton was a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, and took great interest in art, literature, and the drama. He died on 24 Oct. 1849.

[Information from Mr. Fullarton James; Athenæum, 3 Nov. 1849.]

L. C. S.