[Authorities cited; Memorials of the Families of Lumsdaine, Lumisden, or Lumsden, by the present writer. The account in Anderson's Scottish Nation is very inaccurate.]
LUMSDEN, MATTHEW (1777–1835), orientalist, born in 1777, was fifth son of John Lumsden of Cushnie, Aberdeenshire. After being educated at King's College, Old Aberdeen, he went to India as assistant professor of Persian and Arabic in the college of Fort William, and in 1808 succeeded to the professorship. In 1812 he was appointed secretary to the Calcutta Madressa, and superintended the various translations of English works into Persian then in progress. From 1814 until 1817 he had charge of the company's press at Calcutta, and in 1818 he became secretary to the stationery committee. Owing to bad health he left India on furlough in March 1820, and travelled with his cousin, Lieutenant (afterwards Colonel) Thomas Lumsden, through Persia, Georgia, and Russia to England. An account of this journey was published by Lieutenant Lumsden in 1822. Lumsden returned to India in 1821. He died at Tooting Common, Surrey, on 31 March 1835. From King's College, Old Aberdeen, to which he presented his own and many other oriental works, he received in 1808 the degree of LL.D. Lumsden published: 1. ‘A Grammar of the Persian Language,’ 2 vols. fol., Calcutta, 1810. 2. ‘A Grammar of the Arabic Language,’ in 2 vols. fol., Calcutta, 1813, of which only the first volume appeared. 3. ‘A Letter to Lieutenant Gavin Young … in Refutation of his Opinions on some Questions of General Grammar,’ 8vo, Calcutta, 1817. He also edited Firdausī's ‘Shah Namu,’ fol., Calcutta, 1811, with a revised text and an English preface.
[Anderson's Scottish Nation; Cat. of the Library of Advocates, s.v.; information from Colonel H. W. Lumsden.]
LUNARDI, VICENZO (1759–1806), ‘first aerial traveller in the English atmosphere,’ said to have been born at Lucca on 11 Jan. 1759 (Tissandier, Hist. des Ballons, i. 105), was secretary to the Neapolitan ambassador in England, Prince Caramanico. In the autumn of 1784 he obtained leave from Sir George Howard, governor of Chelsea Hospital, to make a balloon ascent from the hospital grounds. This leave was subsequently revoked owing to a riot, consequent upon the unsuccessful attempt of another would-be aeronaut named Moret. But after various delays and apprehensions ‘from explosions or tumults,’ Lunardi, having made his will, ascended from the Honourable Artillery Company's ground at Moorfields on 15 Sept. 1784, in the presence of nearly two hundred thousand spectators. The balloon was about thirty-two feet in diameter, and was filled with hydrogen under the direction of the chemist, Dr. George Fordyce [q. v.] He sailed over London at a great height, and ‘in view of the whole town,’ his ‘globe’ appearing about the ‘size of a tennis-ball.’ He descended near Ware, and shortly afterwards waited on the Prince of Wales and other patrons, who had been present at the ascent, with an account of his journey. The balloon was brought back that night, and ‘lodged, amidst the acclamations of a great mob,’ in Essex Street (Bentham, Works, x. 136). The attempt excited great interest among all classes; ‘never did a foreigner leave this land with so many prayers for his safe return.’ Windham, calling at Burke's country house on 13 Sept., had ‘found them all going to London the next day on the same errand as myself, viz. to see Lunardi ascend’ (Diary, p. 22), and Dr. Johnson, writing to John Ryland on the 18th, mentions that he had on the same day received ‘in three letters three histories of the Flying Man.’ The king viewed the balloon through a telescope from the queen's presence chamber at St. James's (Morning Chronicle, 16 and 17 Sept.; Morning Herald; Postscript to London Chronicle). A view of the ascent is given in the ‘European Magazine’ (1784, ii. 241). Several descriptions were printed, the best by Lunardi himself in letters to his guardian, ‘Chevalier Gherardo Campagni,’ printed in London in 1784. The successful aeronaut was made an honorary member of the Honourable Artillery Company, exhibited himself and his machine to enthusiastic crowds at the Pantheon, and subsequently made ascents at Edinburgh and Glasgow. He published ‘An Account of Five Aerial Voyages in Scotland’ in 1786. The ‘philosophic adventurer’ died in the convent of Barbadinas, Lisbon, on 31 July 1806.
There are several portraits of Lunardi, the best being the mezzotint by F. Bartolozzi after Cosway (with the legend, ‘Protinus ætherea tollit in astra via’), in which he appears as a remarkably handsome young man. He takes a high place among the pioneers of ballooning, his ascent having been made less than a year after the first flight in a ‘Montgolfière’ by Pilâtre de Rozier, and only a few days after the ascent by John Tytler [q. v.] from Edinburgh on 27 Aug. 1784.