Edward Backhouse Eastwick

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Edward Backhouse Eastwick CB (1814 – 16 July 1883, Ventnor, Isle of Wight) was a British orientalist, diplomat and Conservative Member of Parliament.

Life and works

Born a member of an Anglo-Indian family, he was educated at Charterhouse and at Merton College, Oxford. He joined the Bombay infantry in 1836, but, owing to his talent for languages, was soon given a political post. In 1843 he translated the Persian Kessahi Sanjan, or History of the Arrival of the Parsees in India; and he wrote a Life of Zoroaster, a Sindhi vocabulary, and various papers in the transactions of the Bombay Asiatic Society. Compelled by ill-health to return to Europe, he went to Frankfurt, where he learned German and translated Schiller's Revolt of the Netherlands and Bopp's Comparative Grammar.

In 1845 he was appointed professor of Hindustani at Haileybury College. Two years later he published a Hindustani grammar, and, in subsequent years, a new edition of Saadi's Gulistán, with a translation in prose and verse, also an edition with vocabulary of the Hindi translation of Chatur Chuj Misr's Prem Sagar, and translations of the Bagh-o-Bahar, and of the Anwar-i Suhaili of Bidpai. In 1851 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

In 1857–58 he edited The Autobiography of Latfullah, A Mohamedan Gentleman.[1] He also edited for the Bible Society the Book of Genesis in the Dakhani language. From 1860 to 1863 he was in Persia as secretary to the British Legation, publishing on his return The Journal of a Diplomate's Three Years' Residence in Persia.[2] In 1866 he became private secretary to the secretary of state for India, Lord Cranborne (afterwards marquess of Salisbury), and in 1867 went, as in 1864, on a government mission to Venezuela. He had meanwhile resigned his commission as a major in the London Rifle Volunteer Brigade in June 1861.[3]

On his return Eastwick wrote, at the request of Charles Dickens, for All the Year Round, "Sketches of Life in a South American Republic". From 1868 to 1874 he was member of Parliament (MP) for Penryn and Falmouth. In 1875 he received the degree of M.A. with the franchise from the University of Oxford, "as a slight recognition of distinguished services." At various times he wrote several of Murray's Indian handbooks. His last work was the Kaisarnamah-i-Hind ("The Lay of the Empress"), in two volumes (1878–1882).

Eastwick died at Ventnor, Isle of Wight, on 16 July 1883, and was survived by his wife, Rosina Jane, daughter of James Hunter of Hapton House, Argyll, whom he had married in 1847 and by whom he had at least one child, Robert William Egerton Eastwick.[4]


  1. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1858.
  2. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1864.
  3. "From the London Gazette of Tuesday, June 11". London: The Times. Wednesday, Jun 12, 1861; Issue 23957. p. 7; col F. Check date values in: |date= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Stanley Lane-Poole, "Eastwick, Edward Backhouse (1814–1883)", rev. Parvin Loloi. ODNB, Oxford University Press, 2004 Retrieved 28 September 2014, pay-walled.
  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jervoise Smith
Samuel Gurney
Member of Parliament for Penryn & Falmouth
With: Robert Nicholas Fowler
Succeeded by
David James Jenkins
Henry Thomas Cole