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ROBERT ORME (1728-1801)

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Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 294 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ROBERT ORME (1728-1801), English historian of India, was born at Anjengo on the Malabar coast on the 25th of December 1728, the son of a surgeon in the Company's service. Educated at Harrow, he was appointed to a writership in Bengal in 1743. He returned to England in 1753 in the same ship with Clive, with whom he formed a close friendship. From 1754 to 1758 he was a member of council at Madras, in which capacity he largely influenced the sending of Clive to Calcutta to avenge the catastrophe of the Black Hole. His great work—A History of the Military Transactions of the British Nation in Indostan from 1745—was published in three volumes in 1763 and 1778 (Madras reprint, 186r-1862). This was followed by a volume of Historical Fragments (1781), dealing with an earlier period. In 1769 he was appointed historiographer to the East India Company. He died at Ealing on the 13th of January 18o1. His valuable collections of MSS. are in the India Office library. The characteristics of his work, of which the influence is admirably shown in Thackeray's The Newcomes, are thus described by Macaulay: " Orme, inferior to no English historian in style and power of painting, is minute even to tediousness. In one volume he allots, on an average, a closely printed quarto page to the events of every forty-eight hours. The consequence is that his narrative, though one of the most authentic and one of the most finely written in our language, has never been very popular, and is now scarcely ever read." Not a few of the most picturesque passages in Macaulay's own Essay on Clive are borrowed from Orme. (J. S. Co.)
End of Article: ROBERT ORME (1728-1801)
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