Melvill Van Carnbee, Pieter, Baron
MELVILL VAN CARNBEE, PIETER, BARON (1816-1856), Dutch geographer, was born at the Hague on the 20th of May 1816. He traced his descent from an old Scottish family, originally, it is said, of Hungarian extraction. Destined for the navy, in which his grandfather Pieter Melvill van Carnbee (1743-1810) had been admiral, he imbibed a taste for hydrography and cartography as a student in the college of Medemblik, and he showed his capacity as a surveyor on his first voyage to the Dutch Indies (1835). In 1839 he was again in the East, and was attached to the hydrographical bureau at Batavia. With the assistance of documents collected by the old East India Company, he completed a map of Java in five sheets, accompanied by sailing directions (Amsterdam, 1842). He remained in the East till 1845 collecting materials for a chart of the waters between Sumatra and Borneo (two sheets, 1845 and 1846). On his return to Holland he was attached to the naval department with the charge of studying the history of the hydrography of the Dutch East Indies. He also undertook, in connexion with P. F. von Siebold, the publication of the Moniteur des Indes, a valuable series of scientific papers, mainly from his own pen, on the foreign possessions of Holland, which was continued for three years. In 1850 Melvill returned to India as lieutenant of the first class and adjutant to Vice-Admiral van den Bosch; and after the premature death of this commander he was again appointed keeper of the charts at Batavia. In 1853 he obtained exemption from active naval service that he might devote himself to a general atlas of the Dutch Indies. But in 1856 he fell a victim to climate, dying at Batavia on the 24th of October. In spite of delays in engraving, twenty-five sheets of the atlas were already finished, but it was not till 1862 that the whole plan, embracing sixty sheets, was completed by Lieut.-Colonel W. F. Versteeg. In 1843 Melvill received the decoration of the Netherlands Lion, in 1849 that of the Legion of Honour.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)