Readers might be interested in the following press release received from the Gunsgreen House Trust:
In 1736, 275 years ago this June Alexander Dow was born near Comrie in Perthshire. In the early 1750s he was in Eyemouth, working for John and David Nisbet, notorious smugglers, at Gunsgreen House.
In 1757 – at the age of 21 – he was on the Privateer (state licensed pirate ship) King of Prussia at Dartmouth in Devon making his will, in which he left everything to “my beloved friend David Nisbet”.
Just eleven years later he was in London, having travelled to the East, become a Colonel in the East India Company in Calcutta and translated and edited the “History of Hindostan”, the first English language history of India. He had a play on at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, produced by David Garrick and was a friend of David Hume.
After returning to India, he was back in London again in 1772, when he had his portrait painted by Joshua Reynolds and arranged to have another play performed. Back in India, he died, aged just 43 in 1779. He had never made another will, so his wealth – some £10,000 (perhaps as much as £1m in today’s terms) – should have come to David Nisbet.
To mark this anniversary and Dow’s close links to Gunsgreen House, an afternoon event is being held on Sunday 19 June from 2.00 until 6.00. Derek Janes of Gunsgreen House will describe the Colonel’s career and his close connections with the Nisbet Brothers, Anne Buddle, of the National Galleries of Scotland will talk about Scots in India in the Eighteenth Century and there will be readings from Dow’s works and from writings about Dow. Afterwards Derek Janes will give a guided tour of Gunsgreen House.
The Gunsgreen House website is www.gunsgreenhouse.org