Charles Wilkins

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Sir Charles Wilkins (1749? - 1836), was an English Orientalist.

He was born at Frome in Somerset, probably in 1749, and in 1770 he went to India as a writer in the East India Company's service. Becoming attracted to the study of Oriental languages, particularly Sanskrit, he did important work towards facilitating such study by founding a printing press for these languages, taking a large personal share in the practical work of preparing the type. He returned to England in 1786, but continued his study of Sanskrit, and afterwards became librarian to the East India Company, and examiner at Haileybury when a college was established there in 1805. Wilkins was knighted in 1833 in recognition of his services to Oriental scholarship, and died in London.

He was a pioneer in Oriental studies, being the first Englishman to acquire mastery of Sanskrit and to make a thorough study of Indian inscriptions in that script. He compiled a Sanskrit grammar and published several translations from the sacred books of the East, besides preparing a new edition of John Wilkins Richardson's Persian and Arabic dictionary, and a catalogue of the manuscripts collected by Sir William Jones, who acknowledged his indebtedness to Wilkins, and whom Wilkins assisted in founding the Asiatic Society of Bengal.

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