Wellsted, James Raymond (DNB00)


WELLSTED, JAMES RAYMOND (1805–1842), surveyor and traveller, born in 1805, was in 1828-9 secretary to Sir Charles Malcolm [q. v.], superintendent of the Bombay marine. In 1830 he was appointed second lieutenant of the East India Company's ship Palinurus, then engaged, under Captain Moresby, in making a detailed survey of the Gulf of Akaba and the northern part of the Red Sea. She returned to Bombay early in 1833, and was then sent, under the command of Captain Haines, to survey the southern coast of Arabia, Wellsled being atill her second lieutenant. In January 1834 she crossed over to Socotra, and on the 10th anchored in the bay of Tamarida. Wellsted had obtained leave to travel in the island, and for the next two months he wandered through it returning to his ship on 7 March. The results of his journey were communicated to the Royal Geographical Society as 'Memoir on the Island of Socotra' (Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, v. 129). In November 1835 be had permission to travel in Oman, and went to Muscat on the 21st, in company with Lieutenant Whitelock, also of the Indian navy. The imam gave them every assistance in his power; and, starting from Sur on 28 Nov., they arrived at Sib on 30 Jan. 1830. They were both down with fever, but by 25 Feb. were so far recovered as to be able to make another start. The disturbed state of the country compelled them to return. The results of this journey were also laid before the Royal Geographical Society (ib. vii. 102). Wellsted seems to have made another attempt to explore Oman in the following winter, and to have arrived at Muscat on April 1837, in an acute stage of fever 'In a fit of delirium he discharged both barrels of his gun into his mouth, but the balls, passing upwards, only inflicted two ghastly wounds in the upper jaw.' He was carried to Bombay, and thence returned to Europe on leave. He retired from the service in 1839, 'and dragged on a few yean in shattered health and with impaired mental powers, chiefly residing in France' (Low, ii. 85-6), He died on 25 Oct. 1842, at his father's house in Molineux. Street, aged 37. Wellsted's papers read before the Geographical Society procured him immediate recognition in the scientific world, and he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on April 1837. He was also a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Besides the papers already mentioned and others in the 'Journal of the Royal Geographical Society,' he was he author of 'Travels in Arabia' (1838, 2 vols. 8vo), and 'Travels to the City of the Caliphs' (1840, 2 vols. 8vo), an account of the travels of his friend Lieutenant Ormsby.

[Wollsted's Works; Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. xiii. p. xliii: Times, 12 Nov. 1842; Low's Hist. of the Indian Navy, ii. 70-88; Warkham's Mem. on the Indian Surveys; Gent. Mag. 1843, ii. 102.]

J. K. L.