CALCUTTA - William JACKSON. Manuscript account of his voyage from Portsmouth to India and first impressions of Calcutta, 3 June 1822 - 20 August 1824, approximately 240 pages, 8vo, including 27 pages in pencil, margins ruled in red, inscribed on verso of front endpaper, 'William Jackson from Randle Jackson', original red morocco; and: a second manuscript of the journal, an edited and expanded version of the first, Calcutta 20 August 1824, including a dedication to members of his family, a frontispiece drawing in pen and ink of Government House (described as facing the author's house), and architectural details on facing verso, and a pencil drawing of the South elevation of Government House (facing page 147), written in two hands, on leaves with watermark of 1821, footnotes and headings in red ink, 267 pages, 8vo, contemporary half morocco, Calcutta binder's ticket.
A young man's record of his arrival in India. The first part of the journal describes the voyage and visits to Funchal, the Cape, and Bay of Bengal, Fort William and arrival at Calcutta. He witnesses a burial at sea, enjoys amateur theatricals and other diversions, observes birds and sea creatures off the Cape, and identifies among the passengers Sir Henry Blosset, the Chief Justice, 'Mr Harington' [John Herbert Harington, the orientalist employed by the East India Company who returned from furlough in 1822], and other company servants, also mentioning 'Eliza' (his sister-in-law ?).
The description of Calcutta (pages 124-267) includes an awed account of the principal public buildings: 'The stranger at his first arrival is lost in amazement at the stupendous buildings with which he is surrounded. They are all handsomely stuccoed having the front part ornamented with Pillars relieved by the fancy of architecture and supporting extensive verandas from the foundation to the top of the house ... Every window in the house is venetianed which are closed during the heat of the day ... The finest building in Calcutta is the Governor's House ... It is much more spacious than Carlton House or any of the Palaces of which I have any recollection'. The author describes the Town Hall, Court House, Cathedral and the buildings 'appropriated to Writers [clerks] on their arrival facing Government House ... large and convenient for the purpose for which they are applied'.
He prefers Hindus to Muslims, attends an Indian wedding 'up the country ... the splendour of the Paraphanalia was beyond consideration', and observes several rajahs. An interesting account of his daily routine, starting with riding at five, is supplemented with observations on the different classes of Englishmen, the merchants 'the most industrious', and an accont of the Botanical Gardens under 'Dr Wallich' [the botanist Nathaniel Wallich, 1786-1854, whose collections were brought to London], and a summary report on the press.
Randle Jackson (possibly a brother) is listed in the Register for 1826 among the proprietors of East India stock and the journal records his departure for Benares with 'Eliza'. William Jackson himself refers briefly to his office in Calcutta, and his evident interest in the courts and legal profession suggests that he may have been a fledgling lawyer in the Company's service. (2)