Colebrooke, Henry Thomas
COLEBROOKE, HENRY THOMAS (1765-1837), English Orientalist, the third son of Sir George Colebrooke, 2nd baronet, was born in London on the 15th of June 1765. He was educated at home; and when only fifteen he had made considerable attainments in classics and mathematics. From the age of twelve to sixteen he resided in France, and in 1782 was appointed to a writership in India. About a year after his arrival there he was placed in the board of accounts in Calcutta; and three years later he was removed to a situation in the revenue department at Tirhut. In 1789 he was removed to Purneah, where he investigated the resources of that part of the country, and published his Remarks on the Husbandry and Commerce of Bengal, privately printed in 1795, in which he advocated free trade between Great Britain and India. After eleven years' residence in India, Colebrooke began the study of Sanskrit; and to him was confided the translation of the great Digest of Hindu Laws, which had been left unfinished by Sir William Jones. He translated the two treatises Mitacshara and Dayabhaga under the title Law of Inheritance. He was sent to Nagpur in 1799 on a special mission, and on his return was made a judge of the new court of appeal, over which he afterwards presided. In 1805 Lord Wellesley appointed him professor of Hindu Law and Sanskrit at the college of Fort William. During his residence at Calcutta he wrote his Sanskrit Grammar (1805), some papers on the religious ceremonies of the Hindus, and his Essay on the Vedas (1805), for a long time the standard work on the subject. He became member of council in 1807 and returned to England seven years later. He died on the 18th of March 1837. He was a director of the Asiatic Society, and many of the most valuable papers in the society's Transactions were communicated by him.
His life was written by his son, Sir T. E. Colebrooke, in 1873.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)