Griffin died of pneumonia at his residence, Cadogan Gardens, London, on 9 March 1908. The body was cremated at Golder's Green and his ashes were deposited in the private chapel of Colonel Dudley Sampson, Buxshalls, Lindfield, Sussex. He married on 9 Nov. 1889 Marie Elizabeth, elder daughter of Ludwig Leupold of La Coronata, Genoa, Italy, agent to the North German Lloyd S.N. Co. at Genoa; she survived him with two sons, born in 1898 and 1900 respectively. His widow afterwards married Mr. Charles Hoare. A drawing of Griffin by C. W. Walton is reproduced in the Begam's 'Account of My Life' (1912), p. 128. In addition to the books already mentioned Griffin wrote:
- 'The Great Republic,' a hostile criticism of the United States of America, 1884, reproducing articles in the 'Fortnightly Review.'
- 'Famous Monuments of Central India,' fol. 1886.
- 'Ran jit Singh' in 'Rulers of India' series, 1892.
[Record of Services, Bengal Estab., 1888; India Office List, 1907; Lord Lytton's Indian Administration, 1899; Roberts, Forty-one Years in India, 1898; Imp. Gaz. of India, vols, viii. and xx.; Sultan Jahan Begam's Life, 1912; Ameer Abdur Rahman's Life, 1900; Journ. East India Assoc, April 1908; The Times, and Standard, 11 March 1908; Indian Rev., June 1904; notes kindly supplied by Mr. F. L. Petre; personal knowledge.]
GRIFFITH, RALPH THOMAS HOTCHKIN (1826–1906), Sanskrit scholar, born at Corsley, Wiltshire, on 25 May 1826, was son of Robert Clavey Griffith (1792-1844), rector of Corsley (1815-44) and of Fifield Bavant, also in Wiltshire (1825-44), by his wife Mary Elizabeth Adderly, daughter of Ralph Hotchkin of Uppingham Hall. Educated first at Westminster school and then at Uppingham, Ralph proceeded with an exhibition from Uppingham to Queen's College, Oxford, which he entered as a commoner on 16 March 1843. Obtaining an honorary fourth class in classics, he graduated B.A. on 29 Oct. 1846, and proceeded M.A. on 22 June 1849. At Oxford he became a pupil of Professor Horace Hayman Wilson [q. v.], and gaining the Boden Sanskrit scholarship in 1849, continued the study of Sanskrit to the end of his life. From 1850 to 1853 he was assistant master of Marlborough College, of which he was also librarian. In 1853 he joined the Indian educational service, and on 17 December became professor of English literature at the Benares Government College. His promotion was rapid: on 1 June 1854 he became headmaster of the college. He encouraged sport, and showed thorough sympathy with Indian students. In the following year he was entrusted, in addition to his other duties, with the charge of the Anglo-Sanskrit department; and in 1866 he was appointed inspector of schools in the Benares circle. During his first eight years in India (1853-61) Griffith devoted himself not only to the study of Sanskrit but to that of Hindi, the most widely spoken vernacular of northern India, under Pandit Ram Jason, the head Sanskrit teacher of the college, to whom he was much attached. Throughout the Mutiny Griffith worked quietly in his bimgalow amid the surrounding disorder and tumult.
On the retirement of James Robert Ballantyne [q. v.] in 1861 Griffith succeeded to the principalship of the Benares College. He held the post for seventeen years, in the course of which he acted three times for short periods as director of public instruction. On 15 March 1878 he left the Benares College after a quarter of a century's service, and from that date till 1885 was director of public instruction in the North-west Provinces and Oudh. His success in official life, both as an administrator and a teacher, was uninterrupted. On his retirement he received a special pension, the honour of C.I.E., and the thanks of the government. Calcutta University made him a fellow. Unmarried and without close family ties in England, Griffith, after reaching India in 1853, never saw his native country again. On his retirement he withdrew to Kotagiri, a beautiful hill station, some 7000 feet high, in the Nilgiri district, Madras, residing with his brother Frank, an engineer in the public works department of the Bombay presidency, who had settled there in 1879. At Kotagiri he tranquilly engaged in the study and translation of the Vedas. He died (7 Nov. 1906) and was buried there. An enthusiastic lover of flowers and of poetry, he was sensitive and reserved, but genial in sympathetic society. His pupils and admirers at Benares perpetuated his memory on his retirement in scholarships and prizes at the Sanskrit college. In the college library hangs a photograph of his portrait painted by F. M. Wood.
Griffith was attracted by the literary rather than by the linguistic side of Sanskrit. But he rendered a great service to the direct study of the language by founding in 1866 the 'Pandit,' a monthly journal of the Benares College, devoted to Sanskrit literature. This he edited for eight years. More than forty annual volumes have already appeared.