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Baillie, John, of Leys, 1772-1833 (Member of Parliament, and East India Company Official)



  • Existence: 1772 - 1833


Hailing from Inverness, John Baillie of Leys entered the Bengal army of the East India Company in 1790 C.E., reaching the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1814. His competence as a linguist led to his appointment as Professor of Arabic and Persian and of “Mohammedan Law” at Fort William College, Calcutta, from 1801-1807, during which time he published a Course of Lectures on Arabic Grammar (1801), and An Entire and Correct Edition of the Five Books upon Arabic Grammar (1802-1805). He also fought during the second Anglo-Maratha War 1803-1805, and held teh position of Political Officer at Bundelkhand 1804-1806. In 1807 he was appointed British Resident (Political Agent) at the court of the Sa‘adat ‘Alī Khān, Nawwāb of Awadh (reigned 1798 – 1814), at Lucknow. He held this position for eight years.

On his retirement and return to Britain in 1816 he became a Member of Parliament, first for Heddon in England 1820-1830, and then for Inverness, Scotland, 1830-1833. He was also a Director of the East India Company at various times between 1823 and 1833. When Baillie died in London in 1833 his substantial manuscript collecion was overlooked. It was rediscovered there six years later by Duncan Forbes, Professor of Oriental Languages at King's College London, and subsequently returned to Baillie’s family in Scotland.

His grandson John B. Baillie of Leys bequeathed his grandfather's collection of 166 mainly Arabic and Persian manuscripts to the University Library in 1876. They are also listed in M. Hukk’s A descriptive catalogue of the Arabic and Persian manuscripts in Edinburgh University Library (1925).

Found in 167 Collections and/or Records:

Or Ms 403: شرح الحماسة Sharḥ al-Ḥamāsah, undated copy (original text composed 11th cent. C.E.)

Identifier: Or Ms 403
Scope and Contents

A very defective copy of Imām Abū 'Alī Aḥmad bin Muḥammad bin al-Ḥasan al-Marzūqī's (died 421 A.H., 1030 C.E.) commentary on the famous al-Ḥamāsah of Abū Tammām Ḥabīb bin Aws Ṭā'ī (died 231 A.H., 845-846 C.E.).

Dates: undated copy (original text composed 11th cent. C.E.)

Or Ms 404: سقط الزّند Saqṭ al-Zand, undated copy (original text composed 11th cent. C.E.)

Identifier: Or Ms 404
Scope and Contents

The first diwān of the free-thinker and pessimist, Abū al-'Alā Aḥmad bin 'Abdallāh bin Sulaymān al-Tanūkhī al-Ma'arrī (363-449 A.H / 973-1057 C.E.), in which he collected the lyrics of his youth.

The present copy has innumerable glosses, both marginal and interlinear; it is somewhat worm-eaten throughout.

Dates: undated copy (original text composed 11th cent. C.E.)

Or Ms 407: بحر الانساب Baḥr al-ansāb, 1011 A.H., 1602-1603 C.E.

Identifier: Or Ms 407
Scope and Contents The title translating as "The Sea of Generations," this is the Persian version of a history of the families of the ancestors of Muḥammad from Adam downwards, of himself, of the first six Caliphs, and the Shi'i Imāms. The translator, Muḥammad Ja'far Ḥusaynī of Mecca, states in the preface that the Arabic original was the work of his own father. It is written in very simple style, illustrated with numerous family tables, and in the part dealing with the history of Muḥammad and his ancestors a...
Dates: 1011 A.H.; 1602-1603 C.E.

Or Ms 411: مآثر عالمگیری Maʻās̲ir-i ʻĀlamgīrī, 1161 A.H., 1748 C.E.

Identifier: Or Ms 411
Scope and Contents A history of the complete reign of the Emperor 'Ālamgīr, from 1067 A.H. (1656 C.E.) to his death, 1118 A.H. (1707 C.E.). It was compiled in 1122 A.H. (1710 C.E.), by Musta'idd-Khān, surnamed Muḥammad Sāqī, who was secretary to 'Ināyat-allāh Khān. This nobleman was the favourite record writer of 'Ālamgīr and subsequently rose to the role of Governor of Kashmir and vizier to Shāh-'Ālam. The author had thus been an eye-witness of many of the incidents recorded, as he had been connected with the...
Dates: 1161 A.H.; 1748 C.E.

Or Ms 412: نظام التّواریخ Niẓam al-tāwārīkh, undated copy (original text composed 13th cent. C.E.)

Identifier: Or Ms 412
Scope and Contents This is a valuable short history of Persia from the earliest times to 674 A.H. (1275-1276 C.E.), by Naṣir al-Dīn 'Abd-allāh b. 'Umar al-Bayḍāwī who purportedly died at Tabriz in 1319 C.E., although his death date is disputed, and who is also celebrated for his commentary upon the Qur'ān. The current work was composed in 674 A.H. (1275 C.E.).The present copy has 57 folios, is written in good Nasta'līq, and is gold-lined round the columns with headings in red. It appears to be by...
Dates: undated copy (original text composed 13th cent. C.E.)

Or Ms 413: حالات آصف خانان Ḥālāt-i Āṣaf-Khānān, undated

Identifier: Or Ms 413
Scope and Contents This is a short anonymous biography chiefly of Abū al-Ḥasan, entitled "Yamīn al-Dawlah Āṣaf-Khān", son of the vizier I'timād al-Dawlah. He was the father of Mumtaz al-Zamānī Arjumand-Bānū Bīgam, the favourite wife of Mughal Emperor Shāhjahān. Āṣaf-Khān died at the age of 72, in 1051 A.H. (1641 C.E.). The current copy has 9 folios is written in clear nasta'līq, is badly stained by damp and injured. It appears to have been written by the same hand and in the same year as OR MS 411,...
Dates: undated
Illuminated excerpt of the Mahābhārata scroll [Please click twice to see the full scroll]
Illuminated excerpt of the Mahābhārata scr...

Or Ms 510: Mahābhārata, illustrated manuscript scroll, 1795 C.E.

Identifier: Or Ms 510
Scope and Contents A monumental epic (or perhaps more correctly a ‘chronicle’) dated as a text to about 400 BCE – 400 CE, the Mahābhārata consists of dramatic narrative and sermonising didactic on ethics and moral law (dharma) as played out in the lives of two groups of dynastic cousins who fought over control of Bhāratavarṣa, present day central north India. It is one of the two major epics of ancient India, the...
Dates: 1795 C.E.