Signed Royal Pension for Widow of British Scholar - 1885
Royal Document Signed large and boldly by Queen Victoria, allotting a pension of £100 annually (equivalent to about $14,000 in today’s US Dollars) to Mrs. Rosina Jane Eastwick, the widow of Mr. Edward Backhouse Eastwick C.B., a prominent British diplomat, author and scholar of Oriental Literature. Quarto folded, 10″ x 14″ on two sides with facing cover in beautiful, near fine condition, with integral leaf intact and just minor toning at edges, with a few strands of binding twine remaining on the closure end.
Edward Backhouse Eastwick CB (1814-1883) was a British orientalist, diplomat and Conservative Member of Parliament. 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. He married in 1847, Rosina, daughter of James Hunter, of Hafton, Argyllshire, with whom he had one son and six daughters.
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 1857-1858 he edited The Autobiography of Latfullah. 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. 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 resigned his commission as a Major in the London Rifle Volunteer Brigade in June 1861.
On his return he 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 hand-books. His last work was the Kaisarnamah-i-Hind (“the lay of the empress”), in two volumes (1878-1882).