Sir John Malcolm, a British diplomatist, born in Eskdale, Dumfriesshire, May 2, 1769, died in London, May 31, 1833. He was sent to India at the age of 13, in the charge of his uncle, Dr. Paisley, and received a cadetship under the East India company. In 1797 he was made captain, distinguished himself in a series of important services by bravery and intelligence, and after the fall of Seringapatam was secretary to the commission appointed to divide Mysore. In 1799 he was commissioned by Lord Wellesley to negotiate with Persia a de-fensive alliance against an anticipated French invasion of India. He had at this time acquired several eastern languages, and had been in 1792 staff" interpreter of Persian. In 1801 he was appointed private secretary to the governor general, but was again sent to Persia in the following year. In February, 1803, he became commissioner of Mysore, and joined the army of Gen. Arthur Wellesley' in the Mahratta campaign. In 1805 he was recalled to Bengal, where he was actively occupied in forming treaties of alliance with native princes. In 1808 he went again to Persia, but did not obtain the advantages hoped for by the British government.
On returning thither the next year as plenipotentiary, owing to a change in the ministry, he was received in the most flattering manner, and on his departure in 1810 was honored with the order of the sun and moon and made a khan and sepahdar of the empire. In 1812 he went to England, was knighted, and published a " History of Persia " (2 vols. 4to, 1815), the materials for which he had drawn from original Persian annals as well as extensive personal research and observation. On returning to India in 1817, he was appointed political agent in the Deccan, with the rank of brigadier general in the army. He served under Sir T. Hislop as second in command during the Mahratta and Pindaree wars, and especially distinguished himself at the battle of Mehidpoor, in which Holkar was routed. After this war he was appointed governor of Malwa and the adjoining provinces, with the rank of major general. The country was then in a state of anarchy, brigandage and rapine being generally prevalent; he succeeded in restoring order, and governed mildly but firmly.
An account of this part of India was published by him in 1823, under the title of "A Memoir of Central India." He was in England from 1821 to 1827, when he was appointed governor of Bombay, which office he held for three years, and then returned to England. He was elected not long afterward to parliament for Launceston, and distinguished himself by active opposition to the reform bill. A monument was erected to his memory in Westminster abbey, and also an obelisk 100 ft. high near Langholm, in Eskdale. He also published a Sketch of the Political History of India from 1784 to 1823 " (London, 1826), and a "Life of Lord Clive" (1836).-See "Life and Correspondence of Sir John Malcolm," by John W Xaye (2 vols., London, 1856).